A general overview of Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. Quinn Harris/Getty Images/AFP
We can officially close the books on the worst US legal sports betting month of 2021 thanks to the Illinois Gaming Board finally releasing their July numbers. The entire country was affected by the seasonal sports betting slump. In July, there was no increase in betting activity in any of the participating jurisdictions.
The Illinois regulators are slow to report their sports betting numbers. However, the industry usually waits for the elite wagering jurisdictions to find out where they stand month-to-month. There was little drama in July – Illinois simply followed the broad US pattern of double-digit losses.
Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayIllinois.com, said: “July features fewer prime betting opportunities and casual bettors are more occupied with vacations and other activities, and there isn’t much sportsbooks can do about that.”
Illinois sportsbooks reported a $369.1 million handle in July – a 22.5% drop from the $476.5 million in June and nearly $265 million off the record $633.6 million recorded in March. July was the worst month of sports betting in Illinois for 2021. It was the fourth consecutive month of declining betting activity and the second straight month that the Illinois handle fell below the $500 million mark.
Just like the rest of the US, revenue also fell by double-digits. The July gross gaming revenue in Illinois was $37.3 million, a 22.6% decrease from June’s $48.2million.
$6.1 million in taxes was collected for the state’s sportsbooks in July – a 20.9% drop. The 10.1% hold-rate was respectable.
Baseball Carries the Load
With a severely limited sports betting menu in July, baseball was able to carry the load for Illinois sportsbooks. The Olympics didn’t nearly live up to wagering expectations.
The largest bet on any sport in Illinois was baseball, which saw Illinois gamblers drop $124million. Tennis generated $44 million, basketball $44.8 million and soccer $34.3million. Parlays continued to be a major contributor to the state’s overall handle as well.
Illinois’ Mobile Conundrum
Illinois saw a major spike in mobile wagering throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period. Governor Pritzker temporarily allowed for remote registration for the state’s betting apps during that period. It resulted in a dramatic increase in registrations as well as an increase in online wagers.
Curiously, in spring, Governor Scott reversed his decision to allow remote registration. For the past three months, all bettors in Illinois have had to go to a casino in order to register for mobile betting apps.
Joe Boozell, lead analyst for PlayIllinois.com, stated: “Illinois sportsbooks will not be able to take full advantage of the customer acquisition phase that comes with the beginning of every football season, which is vital for the growth of the industry. Because in-person registration was reinstated in April at the beginning of the slow season in sports betting, the industry has skirted the most severe effects of the state rule. But there will be no hiding from it during football season.”
Through it all, the mobile betting scene in Illinois doesn’t seem to have suffered…yet. Mobile apps accounted for $351.4 million of the $369.1million July handle. Thats down 22.2% from $451.7 million in June but still 95.1% of the state’s betting total.
Thank Goodness for September
Illinois will have to endure one more down month – August. Thanks to September, the NFL season will bring a remarkable turnaround for the Illinois and national legal sports betting industries.
Despite the summer woes, Illinois has managed to keep its #3 spot on the list for most bet-friendly states. This is a good sign that they are still considered an elite betting jurisdiction. Although in-person registration for mobile apps may threaten to lower them, the established mobile betting industry in Illinois is not likely to cause a major disruption to the already impressive scene.
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