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Illinois sports betting handle reaches record $451m in November


The Illinois Gaming Board has revealed that the US state set a new sports betting handle record in November, despite the closure of land-based facilities half way through the month due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.

Though the state’s regulator is yet to publish a full report for the month, Board administrator Marcus Fruchter updated members during a meeting yesterday afternoon (January 28).

Fruchter said players wagered a total of $451.0m on sports during the month, representing an increase of 3.8% on the previous record of $434.6m that was set in October.

Adjusted gross sports betting receipts for November reached approximately $41.0m, which was 2.8% lower than the record $41.0m reported in October, while the state generated $6.0m in tax from sports betting during the month.

Fruchter did not disclose any other details about the November performance, but he did note that both handle and revenue were impact by the temporary closure of the state’s land-based facilities.

Retail venues were forced to close on November 17 in line with the state’s Covid-19 measures, which in turn meant players were limited to betting online.

However, to help combat the impact of these closures, Governor J.B. Pritzker in November again signed an Executive Order permitting players to sign up for an online sports betting account remotely.

State law requires consumes to register in person at a licensed retail venue in order to access online sports wagering, but this was suspended on a number of occasions in 2020 due to the closure of land-based sites.

The most recent Executive Order signed by Pritzker extends the allowance for remote registration until February 6.

At the meeting, Fruchter also clarified what could be considered a legal prop bet for next month’s Super Bowl. He said that prop bets based on objective player or game statistics would be permitted, as would bets on referee activity such as the coin toss. Though not a game bet, bets on the colour of the “Gatorade Shower” for the winning coach would also be allowed, as Fruchter pointed out it would be conducted by players who must abide by NFL integrity rules.

Bets on non-game activity such as television commentators, advertising, the half time show and the National Anthem performance would not be permitted. However, prop bets that include both a game statistic and a non-game one may be allowed.