The Illinois Government decided to stop allowing online registration for sports betting. Prior to April an exemption had been made due to Coivd-19 to allow online registration for sports betting. Since then, the sports betting numbers have not been great in the state. While much of the country saw an uptick in revenue for May when comparing the numbers to April, Illinois saw a severe bump down.
Illinois bettors only wagered $506.7 million in May 2021, which is $30 million short of the sports betting handle for April 2021. The revenue also saw a 17% downswing going from $43.6 million in April to $36.2 million in May. Both of these numbers are concerning.
The State of Illinois was able to cash in on $5.9 million in taxes from sports betting. While a significant number that will surely help the state as it recovers from Covid-19, this is also significantly lower than April’s numbers, which recorded $7 million in taxes.
Illinois Trending Opposite of USA
Illinois is one of the biggest betting markets in the United States. However, comparing May’s trend is concerning when looking at the other big markets. New Jersey, for example, went up over $50 million in sports betting handle in May compared to April. Pennsylvania did go down in total handle but actually increased in revenue and state revenue for May compared to April. Meanwhile, Illinois seemingly nose-dived with the May betting numbers.
Why The Lower Betting Numbers?
There are many reasons as to why May would have seen a decrease in sports betting numbers. However, one reason that cannot be ignored is the removal of online sign-up for sports betting platforms. Covid-19 has not gone away, and people are still limiting their travel. This means that even if someone was willing to make the drive to go sign up for sports betting in person, they might not do so due to the pandemic. Without many new users, it is hard to continue growing your sports betting numbers.
Another theory would be the sports being played in May. However, this one does not make a ton of sense as the three biggest sports right now, NBA, NHL, and MLB, were all in full swing for both months. In fact, the playoffs started for the NBA and NHL in May, which should actually cause an upswing in bets.
Illinois Future Market Outlook
Illinois will likely have a tougher time competing with the big states as long as it continues to not allow online registration. Michigan and Virginia are two states that are on the rise and are quickly gaining ground on Illinois because every bettor in that state can register and bet from their home. This is a luxury that has been proven to increase wagers in every state, including Illinois during the time where online registration was allowed.
It will be interesting to see how the Illinois market is affected by this government decision in the fall as sports betting enters its biggest months, NFL Season.