Illinois Sports Betting: Prairie State Wagers Nearly $300 Million on NCAA Basketball Tournaments

This year’s March Madness coincided with the ban on remote registration being lifted in Illinois on March 5, which was likely a major contributor to the lofty numbers.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2022 2:02 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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College basketball created a frenzy of sports betting in Illinois, as the people of the Prairie State made close to $286.2 million in wagers on both the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments this year, according to numbers recently released by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

This year’s March Madness coincided with the ban on remote registration being lifted in Illinois on March 5, which was likely a major contributor to the lofty numbers. The $286,193,096 handle for the college basketball tournaments was also a significant leap from last year when the state saw approximately $200 million in wagers for one of the most popular events for sports bettors. 

Illinois’ online sportsbooks generated $14.3 million in adjusted revenue from both tournaments this year, which translated into $2.1 million in tax receipts for the state thanks to its 15% levy on sports betting. The hold for sportsbooks on this year’s big dance was about 5% of the total handle.

The men’s bracket drew the bulk of action from Illinois bettors. The total handle for the men's tournament was approximately $278.4 million for the state. However, supporters of women’s NCAA basketball got in on the action as well, as the books reported $7.8 million in handle for that tournament. 

Online betting continues to dominate

Once again, Illinoisans have made it clear they prefer making their bets over the internet. Online bets accounted for $274.4 million in tournament action, an incredible 96% of the total handle. 

Live in-game bets were also responsible for 25.1% ($71.8 million) of all wagers, reflecting bettors’ commitment to keeping track of the action and trying to ride the momentum.

Interestingly enough, it was PointsBet that led the way in March Madness-related revenue, even though its total handle was roughly a quarter of DraftKings, which took the most action in Illinois for the two tournaments. 

PointsBet’s revenue was nearly $5.7 million on $27.8 million in total handle for the tournaments, while DraftKings took $105.2 million in bets and earned $1.8 million in revenue.

What’s on deck in Illinois?

March Madness will be a tough act to follow, but sportsbooks should maintain strong numbers as Illinois continues to be one of the top betting markets in the nation. 

After a record-setting January that saw sportsbooks in the Land of Lincoln bring in over $867 million, February saw an expected dip to around $679 million, as there was just one NFL game in play — the Super Bowl. 

While March’s numbers likely won’t be out until May, it should be another solid showing, lifted by the robust NCAA tournament numbers. The NBA playoffs and MLB will have to carry the load until the fall when the NFL kicks off again.   

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