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(The Center Square) – The sports betting industry in Illinois has reached a new milestone.  

The state surpassed $1 billion in gross gaming revenue since it was legalized in March 2020. Illinois joined New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania as the only states to reach the revenue plateau, but was the fastest to do so. While it took Illinois 27 months, New Jersey and Nevada needed 35 months and Pennsylvania required 41.

Dave Briggs with PlayIllinois.com said with the NFL season underway, he is expecting huge numbers this fall. 

“Absolutely, and we already saw a great figure on NFL betting that recently came out that Illinois led the nation in year-over-year growth in how much betting volume there was on that first weekend of the NFL, up 60% compared to last year,” Briggs said.

Briggs said Illinois sportsbooks have produced over $167 million in tax revenue to state and local authorities since the industry launched, a fact that other states have to notice.     

“We see that it's happening,” Briggs said. “They just legalized it in Kansas and it's coming online in other places.”

Operators posted an 8.9% hold, leading to the state receiving $6.9 million in tax receipts for July. Sports wagering has generated about $60 million in state taxes for Illinois this year. 

FanDuel and DraftKings were the top two mobile books in total handle in July. During that month, baseball was the largest revenue generator, but tennis was a surprising second in handle and revenue.  

This year, the 26 states that have legal sports betting have produced a combined handle exceeding $50 billion through July. Since the beginning of legal sports betting, over $148 billion has been bet in the United States.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.