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State

Gamblers place $52.5 million sports bets in July. The most bet on sport? Soccer.

Soccer matches see the most wagers in Illinois' first full month of action

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, a gambler makes bets on the upcoming Super Bowl at Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J. The coronavirus pandemic could lead to a quicker expansion of sports betting and internet gambling in the U.S. as states deal with huge budget deficits and look for new tax revenue wherever they can find it. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, a gambler makes bets on the upcoming Super Bowl at Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J. The coronavirus pandemic could lead to a quicker expansion of sports betting and internet gambling in the U.S. as states deal with huge budget deficits and look for new tax revenue wherever they can find it. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The first full month of sports betting in Illinois had gamblers placing $52.5 million in wagers during July.

That's according to reports from the Illinois Gaming Board released Tuesday.

"I believe that's a pretty good month, but I don't have anything to compare it to," said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. "I think since the casinos just reopened with 50% occupancy, and now four with just 25%, this is going to help us."

Bettors placed most of their bets on soccer, which garnered more than $20.5 million in wagers, according to the gambling board's report. Only Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and the Argosy Casino in Alton had operational sportsbooks during the month. Several more sportsbooks at casinos have come online since then.

Almost all of the bets placed in July were done through Rivers Casino, according to the report. The Des Plaines casino took 1.15 million sportsbook wagers in July worth $51.9 million.

Sportsbooks were open briefly before the COVID-19 pandemic, but not long enough to make much of a financial impact. The state netted only $543,598 in taxes from completed bets. The state taxes casino winnings at 15%. Cook County also taxes casinos 2% on revenue generated from sports betting. In July, Cook County received $42,025, according to the gambling board.

During the pandemic, the state relaxed rules about registering for online sports betting to make it easier for gamblers to place bets. Initially, gamblers had to be in a casino to create their accounts.

The majority of sports bets placed in July were on the outcome of an event, according to the report. These "Tier 1" wagers could be for a game played that day or for a specific team to win a championship at a later date. The 682,000-plus Tier 1 bets totaled more than $30 million for the month.

The gambling board report shows "Tier 2" bets -- more commonly referred to as prop bets -- totaled $22.5 million. Tier 2 bets are often based on individual performances, such as betting that a particular player will hit a home run, score a goal or catch a touchdown, gambling board officials explained. More than 480,000 Tier 2 bets were placed in July.

Additional details in the IGB reports show $17.7 million in bets were placed on baseball, nearly $4.6 million on boxing or mixed martial arts fights, $4.4 million on golf and $3.3 million on basketball.

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