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Sports betting in Illinois slows in February

9 Apr 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Wagering at Illinois sportsbooks slipped to less than $700 million in February, the lowest monthly handle since September. With just one NFL game on the schedule, a post-Super Bowl lull is to be expected, according to PlayIllinois, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market. But the seasonal slowdown masks impressive year-over-year gains in what was the last month of in-person registration requirements.

“The Super Bowl can’t completely replace the volume of wagers from a full month of NFL football,” said Joe Boozell, lead analyst for “Importantly, though, sportsbooks continued to show strong year-over-year growth, and that momentum almost certainly accelerated in March, which brought lighter registration requirements and the NCAA Tournament.”

Bettors placed $679.4 million in wagers at Illinois’ online and retail sportsbooks in February despite $60.5 million in Super Bowl-related betting, according to official data released Thursday evening. February’s handle was up 33.3% from $509.7 million in February 2021, though down 21.7% from the record $867.5 million in bets in January. Betting volume reached $24.3 million per day over the 28 days in February, which was up from $18.2 million per day in February 2021 but down from $28 million per day in January.

Sportsbooks won $35.6 million in gross revenue from February’s bets, up 14.9% from $30.3 million in February 2021 and down 40% from $59.3 million in January. The win generated $5.3 million in state and local taxes.

With a short month and just one NFL game on the schedule — the Super Bowl — February typically brings a lull in betting between the busy months of January and March.

“The biggest concern for sportsbooks was wiped away when baseball announced that it would play a full schedule,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the Network, which includes “For the first time since Illinois launched sports betting amid the pandemic in 2020, sportsbooks can look forward to a normal sports schedule. Add in the change in registration requirements, and we’ll finally see the full potential of the market.”

Online betting accounted for $652.3 million, or 96%, of all wagers in February. FanDuel and DraftKings remained in a neck and neck race for market share. FanDuel led all operators with $212.5 million in online and retail wagers, including $211.3 million in online wagering. DraftKings followed with $212.2 million in combined online and retail handle, including $207.8 million in online wagers.

February marked the last month of in-person registration requirements in Illinois, which were lifted in early March just ahead of the NCAA Tournament. March’s revenue will offer deeper insight into the growth that sportsbooks can expect for the remainder of the year in a market no longer artificially restricted.

“February was the end of the sports betting market’s first chapter,” Boozell said. “The biggest question ahead is whether Illinois can catch New Jersey and Nevada and establish itself as the clear second-largest sports betting market in the U.S., behind only New York. We believe that is a strong possibility.”
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