Barstool Opens as Illinois reports $581.6 million in January

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Illinois has welcomed their latest online sportsbook to go live in the state. Just as the Barstool Sportsbook platform launched, Illinois’ gaming authorities released some very good news.

As people in their tens-of-thousands were registering to place legal sports wagers on Barstool Sportsbook, the Illinois Gaming Board released the official numbers, and they were mighty impressive. The state’s sports bettors threw down a record $581.6 million total in wagers. That’s an incredible almost $90 million increase from December, when bettors in the Land of Lincoln wagered $491.7 million. Almost all of that amount was generated online with $575.2 million wagered at Illinois’s 5 online sportsbooks that were operating in January.

Illinois’ Sports Betting Revenue More Than Doubles in January 2021

 Illinois’ January sports wagering handle still ranks it as fourth-highest state in the nation, however, it is steadily catching up on both two states directly ahead of it,  Nevada and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania reported a highest ever recorded number of $615.3 million, while Nevada recorded $646.7 million in betting handle.

Of the Illinois $581.6 million of handle in January 2021, the state’s online sportsbooks made revenues of $49.4 million. That’s an increase from the $23.9 million in winnings reported for the state in December. State Government coffers also received $7.2 million in taxes for the month to fund a range of programs, services and infrastructure projects for the state’s residents.

DraftKings retained its position as #1 online sportsbook in the state of Illinois, collecting a whopping $244.2 million in sports bets and that translates as an impressive 42% of the state’s market share. Of those, $243.5 million came online. FanDuel remained in second place among Illinois sportsbooks, and notably all but $135 000 of it’s $173.3 million betting handle was generated online.

However, both of the leaders will be looking over the shoulder to see how Barstool performs in Illinois and if it can immediately jump to the third place, just as Barstool did in Pennsylvania six months ago.

Looking further down the sportsbook results for January 2021, BetRivers (sister sportsbook of New Jersey’s SugarHouse Sportsbook) posted an all-sources handle of $112.7 million including online and land-based handle. The BetRivers bricks-and-mortar sportsbook at Rivers Des Plaines, accounted for $3.7 million of its handle, and significantly, was the only Illinois bricks-and-mortar sportsbook report a handle of more than $1 million.

Illinois set to challenge New Jersey for #1 state in the nation

 With Illinois’ population of $12.6 million as 5th largest state in terms of population in the United States, compared to New Jersey at #11 in the nation with 8.88 million, clearly, the Land of Lincoln has what it takes to overtake the Garden State in the long-term. As it nears maturity and introduces more online sportsbooks than the current six, industry experts are expecting Illinois to seriously threaten.

According to leading legal sports wagering industry analyst, Jessica Welman;

“No state has come close to reaching $500 million in handle in such a short time frame after launching, and to reach that mark with just five online operators and retail casinos closed for much of January is even more impressive. Multiple factors had to come together to make that happen. The next step for the market is to get more operators online, which will help expand the pool of bettors”, Welman explained.

The arrival of Barstool could give Illinois the impetus it needs to compete with New Jersey. Drawing in the younger 18-30 male demographic, Barstool’s fans are loyal, enthusiastic and cashed up. With more than 90 million followers nationwide, Barstool’s audience in Illinois could be as many as 5 million and potentially set to become avid sports bettors; watch out New Jersey, Illinois has you in their sights!

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