Illinois reported record highs for its March sports betting handle, but those highs are not likely to last in the coming months.
The Illinois Gaming Board reported $633.6 million in total sports betting handle for the month, the highest ever sports betting handle for Illinois and the third-highest handle in the country for March.
Top 10 U.S. states in sports betting handle, March 2021:
1. New Jersey: $860 mil
2. Nevada: $641 mil
3. Illinois: $634 mil
4. Pennsylvania: $560 mil
5. Michigan: $384 mil
6. Indiana: $317 mil
7. Virginia: $304 mil
8. Colorado: $301 mil
9. TN: $206 mil
10. Iowa: $161 mil
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) May 10, 2021
Illinois sports betting headed for a decline?
However, don’t expect those numbers to maintain such a high level moving forward. The record high coincided with the final month Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker allowed for online registration of online sports betting accounts. On April 3 Pritzker chose not to renew an executive order that lifted the in-person registration requirement due to concerns over COVID-19 and social distancing measures.
Pritzker cited the executive order as no longer necessary and new users must now travel to certain casinos to sign up for accounts with specific skins. For example, if a resident wanted to register for the DraftKings Sportsbook Illinois’ app, users would need to drive to the Casino Queen Sportsbook in East St. Louis to activate an account.
Illinois and Nevada are the only two states in the country with legalized sports betting that require in-person registration at a casino for a new online sports betting account. Nevada’s numerous casinos make in-person registration for residents an easier pill to swallow than Illinois residents who must register an account at one of only five brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.
The registration requirement will remain until it expires in late 2021 or early 2022.
Illinois in-person sports betting registration is here to stay
As reported in late April state lawmakers are not considering removing the in-person requirement at this time. Rep. Robert Rita (D-97), recently defended the in-person requirement during a House Executive Committee meeting and noted its inclusion in the 2019 sports betting bill was a key reason the bill was passed. The in-person requirement was designed to increase foot traffic to the state’s brick and mortar casinos and lawmakers did not seem to consider its removal necessary on Wednesday.
The lack of an in-person requirement spurred the rapid growth of the sports betting market in Illinois. In September 2020, over 230,000 new mobile sports betting accounts were created, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.