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Illinois betting handle up 22.8% to $1.10bn in April

| By Robert Fletcher
Sports betting handle in Illinois jumped 22.8% year-on-year to $1.10bn (£868.2m/€1.03bn) in April, while revenue also edged up year-on-year.
Illinois April

The Illinois April figure was 22% higher than the $898.6m wagered in the same month last year. However, it was down 12.7% from the $1.26bn bet in Illinois in March of this year.

Of the total amount wagered in April, some $1.07bn was spent betting across the eight online platforms available in the state. The remaining $31.8m was attributed to in-person betting.

Professional sports drew the most wagers at $1.05bn, with $1.02bn being bet online and $29.1m in-person. The data, published by the Illinois Gaming Board, does not include a breakdown by sport.

College sports wagers topped $44.3m, split $41.7m online and $2.6m retail. The other $640,758 was bet on motor racing, including $608,030 online and $32,728 in-person.

FanDuel takes top spot in April

Looking at individual operators in Illinois, FanDuel led the way in terms of revenue. During April, FanDuel posted $43.8m, from $386.9m in total bets.

DraftKings performed better in terms of bets processed ($400.3m). However, it lagged behind its long-term rival in revenue with $27.9m reported for the month.

Other stand-out performers include BetRivers with $5.4m in revenue via $71.5m in handle. ESPN Bet reported revenue of $3.7m, marginally ahead of BetMGM ($3.7m) and Fanatics ($3.6m).

Caesars rounded off the major brands with $2.2m in revenue for the month of April.

Revenue edges up in Illinois

Turning to adjusted gaming revenue from sports betting, this hit $92.0m in April. Revenue was 2.7% higher than in Illinois last year but down 7.5% from March’s haul of $103.8m.

Breaking down revenue performance, online betting generated $90.4m in April. In contrast, land-based betting was responsible for just $1.6m of total revenue during the month.

Of all revenue, $46.8m came from activities in Cook County, which includes Chicago. It is the second-most populous county in the US, after Los Angeles in California.

In terms of tax, Illinois collected $13.8m in sports betting taxes during April. This includes $13.6m from online betting and $239,536 from the retail market. 

Tax rise ruffles feathers in Illinois

The monthly results come on the back of lawmakers in Illinois approving an increase in sports betting tax in May.

The house of representatives passed a progressive wagering tax rate which will see the most prolific sports betting operators in Illinois pay tax at 40%, up from the current rate of 15%.

This structure sets rates at between 20% and 40%, depending on each operator’s adjusted gaming revenue (AGR). Operators posting more than $200m in revenue face the highest rate of 40% – the second-highest tax rate in the US behind New York at 51%.

Other boundaries include a 20% tax rate for operators with an AGR of under $30m, 25% for between 30m and $50m, 30% for AGR ranging from $50m to $100m and 35% for AGR of $100m to $200m.

However, the move has caused some level of disturbance in terms of the long-term impact of the rise. Brendan Bussmann of B Global, a consultancy serving the gaming, sports and hospitality industries, warned further states could follow suit with similar increases.

Bussmann also questioned the decision to punish the largest tax contributors in Illinois. He warned pushing up taxes could have a negative impact on the overall market. With operators facing higher costs, this may see them withdraw promotions, cut back their offering and offer worse odds.

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