Illinois sports betting tops $1B, ranks 3rd in nation

Illinois sports betting tops $1B, ranks 3rd in nation

October 2022 set a record high for sports betting in Illinois: over $1 billion in wagers, which was the third-highest state tally in the U.S.

Sports betting in Illinois saw over $1 billion in wagers for October 2022, a new record. Illinois’ billion-dollar activity was third in the nation behind New York and New Jersey.

Since it started in March 2020, Illinoisans have bet more than $16 billion on sports through October 2022, the most recent data available.

One key factor in 2022 was a change in the registration process. Previously, residents had to register in-person at one of the state's land-based casinos to wager. A new law enacted in March allows Illinois residents to sign up online to bet.

Sports betting in Illinois has generated nearly $190 million in tax revenue to the Sports Wagering Fund.

Any excess funds in the Sports Wagering Fund are transferred to the Capital Projects Fund at the end of each month.

Money for capital projects should exclusively help Illinois’ infrastructure. But $4 billion of the funds earmarked in 2019 for infrastructure was put toward pork projects such as dog parks and pickleball courts – projects that are good for politicians’ campaigns, but do nothing to help drivers find a smoother ride or get where they need to go.

Sport betting in Illinois also comes with a social cost. The Illinois Department of Human Services commissioned a study in March 2022 that found more than 10% of adult Illinoisans, over 1 million residents, have a gambling problem or are at risk of developing one.

Plus, state-sponsored gambling revenues have been unreliable.

Maybe the smarter bet is to reduce the state’s costs, starting with the public pensions that drive up property taxes and eat 25% of the state budget, so high taxes stop driving out Illinoisans.

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