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Illinois Sportsbooks Bring in Nearly $1 Billion in March

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
May/10/2022

Just how big is the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament when it comes to betting you might be wondering?  Look no further than the state of Illinois.

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Nearly $1 billion was taken in during the Month of March on the tournament and other sports, setting a fresh state handle record.   The removal of an in-person registration requirement that allowed customers to set up betting accounts via their mobile devices at the beginning of the month certainly helped in shattering the previous records.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, customers were briefly permitted to open accounts online.

“March Madness and the removal of in-person registration proved a powerful combination,” said Jake Garza, analyst for PlayIllinois.com. “This is what a less-restrained market in Illinois looks like.”

Sportsbooks took in $971.3 million in wagers in March, a fresh record and up 53.3% from $633.6 million in March 2021, according to official data released Monday. Fueled by $278.4 million in betting on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, March’s handle shattered the previous record of $867.5 million in bets in January and was also up 43.0% from $679.4 million in February.

The amount would likely have been more had Illinois permitted wagering on games that featured in-state teams such as the Loyola Ramblers and Illinois Fighting Illini, both of which made it into this year's tournament. 

“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, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayIllinois.com. “It would not be too surprising if Illinois became the second-largest market in the U.S. by the beginning of football season.”

Illinois is set to bring on another popular sports betting brand the end of 2022 as Las Vegas-based Circa Sports announced this week it will be entering the Land of Lincoln with a retail sportsbook.  They plan to offer a mobile app some time next year.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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