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Illinois Records Massive March Sports Betting Handle

Illinois’ sports betting industry is on the rise, and March turned out to be another massive month. On Monday, the Illinois Gaming Board released the March numbers, and it blew away the industry.

Sports Betting Numbers in March

In March, Illinois’ total sports betting handle was $633.6 million, which rose 24.3% from the February total of $509.8 million. Basketball played a significant role in the uptick because of the NCAA Tournament.

However, the Illinois Illini and the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, two of the state’s favorite college basketball programs, cannot be wagered. Illinois, like many states, has a rule in place that does not allow in-state athletic programs to be wagered. If these two teams could have been wagered in March, the handle would have been higher.

The previous record was recorded in January of 2021. The state totaled $581.5 million in bets, which was dominated by the latest report for March.

Illinois’ handle in March ranked the state third in the nation behind New Jersey and Nevada. This is not surprising because of the stature of these states in the industry. What is surprising is that Illinois finished second in revenue, which is a major win for the legal sportsbooks and the state government.

Illinois, New Jersey, and Nevada led the national charge. March was the third month in a row where at least $4 billion was wagered in the United States.

The Splits for the Month

Even though people in Illinois could not bet on hometown teams, basketball still totaled over half of the sports betting handle. Basketball accounted for $365.7 in wagers. The NCAA Tournament was heavily wagered. Of the total basketball handle, $176.8 million has been reported as tournament bets. There is still one sportsbook that has not reported specific numbers, so this handle should creep towards $200 million.

The sports that followed in the top five were tennis, hockey, soccer, and golf. Parlays were technically second in the total handle at $122 million. Losing parlays helped Illinois ranked second in national revenue for the month.

An Expected Decline

Due to COVID-19, people were able to register for sports betting remotely in Illinois. Although, Governor JB Pritzker has declared that he will not extend remote registration on April 2nd through Executive Order 2020-41.

Players have been able to register online since August of 2020, which has helped the handle grow in the nation. Additionally, players must register for their sportsbook of choice at the partner casino.

This will cause less involvement in legal gaming for new players because of casino locations in the state. However, there could be one positive coming by next basketball season for Illinois bettors.

Illinois State Rep. Michael J. Zalewski is headlining a bill that would allow gamblers to bet in-state college teams. He reintroduced a bill in February to lift the ban on betting schools such as the University of Illinois or Loyola Chicago.

Loyola defeated Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Both teams are heavily supported in March. Therefore, this law could allow an already impressive market to grow immensely.

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