Wagering at Illinois’ sportsbooks increased to almost $1bn for the month of March, setting a new state handle record. The amount was in part raised by NCAA Tournament betting, as well as the removal of in-person registration.
As Jake Garza, PlayIllinois Analyst, explained: “March Madness and the removal of in-person registration proved a powerful combination. This is what a less-restrained market in Illinois looks like.”
In March, Sportsbooks took $971.3m in wagers, which is up 53% from $633.6m in March last year. The total was boosted by $278.4m in betting on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Sportsbooks took $79.4m in gross revenue from March’s bets, which is up 59.2% from the $49.9m in March 2021. It’s also increased by 155.6% from the $31.1m achieved in February. The previous record stood at $78.2m from November 2021. This latest amount generated $9.8m in state and local taxes.
March was the first month of betting following the removal of in-person registration rules for online betting. This change means bettors no longer need to register at a retail sportsbook.
“Even with the inevitable seasonal slowdown that begins in April, the state’s sports betting industry should continue to make a significant lurch forward compared with last year,” said Eric Ramsey, PlayUSA Network Analyst.
“It would not be too surprising if Illinois became the second-largest market in the US by the beginning of football season.”
During March, 96% of all wagers came from online betting which equals $927.5m. FanDuel led all operators with $315.3m in online and retail wagers; DraftKings came in second place with $289.2m in combined handles.
Basketball alone, including both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, as well as the NBA drew in $554.3m in straight wagers for March. Aside from parlay betting, tennis was the next most popular, with $64m in wagers.
Garza added: “Without football or college basketball to spur interest in the coming months, March will be the last huge month until football season. But the NBA playoffs, baseball, and major golf tournaments will keep bettors interested, even if we have to wait until September for the state’s first $1bn month.”
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