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Illinois sports betting handle up 273% for 2021

Illinois sportsbooks saw out 2021 with nearly $800m in handle for December, pushing its full-year total over $7bn.

The Prairie State experienced its third consecutive month with more than $780m in wagers, earning Illinois a bronze medal as it eked out a spot among the US’ top three sports destinations.

Online and retail wagers amounted to $789.6m for December, up 60.6% year-on-year (YOY) and the second highest handle in Illinois’ history.

As a busy autumn gave way to winter, activity remained strong. Wagering volume for December averaged $25.5m per day, though this was down from November’s $26m per day.

Bettors also fared better in December. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell to a more typical $36.7m, down 53% from November’s record-breaking $78.2m figure.

Nevertheless, December’s win was up 29% YOY, generating $33.7m in taxable revenue, which in turn yielded $5.4m for state and local coffers.

All-in-all, 2021 marked a surge in sports betting. Illinois’ handle amounted to $7.02bn for the full year, up 273% from 2020’s $1.9bn, while only New Jersey ($10.9bn) and Nevada ($7.1bn) attracted more in wagers.

“Sportsbooks have operated at a blistering pace over the last three months, and it certainly helps going forward that the Bulls are a hot ticket,” said Joe Boozell, Lead Analyst for PlayIllinois.com.

“As relentless as the growth has been though, it’s important to remember that Illinois is far from a mature market. Many of the restraints will go away early this year, which puts the industry in a great position.”

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