SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) – Since its inception in March 2020, legalized sports betting has exploded in Illinois.
Sports bettors have made the state one of the top gambling markets in the country. October marked the first time Illinois’ sports betting handle surpassed the $1 billion dollar mark in a single month. Illinois is now the fourth state in U.S. history to reach that threshold. New York, New Jersey, and Nevada were the other states to reach that plateau.
Three major sports leagues were in play, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL, giving Illinois sports bettors plenty to choose from.
Dave Briggs with PlayIllinois.com said he doesn’t see a slowdown anytime soon.
“I wouldn’t expect so, and then you get into the NFL playoffs, then you get into the Super Bowl, then into March Madness,” Briggs said. “So I don’t know if it will stay at a billion dollars a month for every month, but certainly it’s going to be right up there.”
Since the launch of sports betting in March 2020, Illinois sports gamblers have bet in the neighborhood of $18 billion. The state’s 12 sports books have netted about $1.5 billion. The total tax revenue for the state has surpassed $200 million.
All tax funds go into a Sports Wagering Fund. On the 25th of each month, any money in that fund in excess of the anticipated monthly expenditures from the fund through the next month is transferred to the Capital Projects Fund.
In March, a law was enacted that allowed Illinois residents to sign-up online for sports books. A previous law would require a sign-up in person at one of the state’s land-based casinos.
Since the beginning of legal sports betting, over $160 billion has been bet in the United States. Currently, 26 states allow sports betting.
Critics note that the betting explosion has also led to a rise in gambling addiction. Calls to the state’s gambling addiction hotline reportedly doubled over the first year the industry was active in Illinois.