Illinois Sports Betting Flirts with Billion-Dollar Handle in Record-Breaking March

March’s sports betting dwarfed the $679.3 million in wagering in Illinois in February and surpassed the previous state record of $867.5 million that was set in January.

Last Updated: May 10, 2022 2:12 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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March Madness sparked a bonanza of sports betting in Illinois that saw Prairie State bookmakers take a record-setting $971.3 million in retail and online wagers for the month.

The Illinois Gaming Board recently reported that brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks generated $60.6 million in adjusted gaming revenue (AGR) as well during March, which led to approximately $9.8 million in local and state taxes. Based on those adjusted receipts, sports-betting operators saw a combined 6.2% hold for the month.

March’s sports-betting handle dwarfed the $679.3 million in wagering in Illinois in February and surpassed the previous state record of $867.5 million that was set in January.

March Madness and BetMGM help drive action

It’s no surprise the Land of Lincoln saw lofty numbers in March, as betting was buoyed by close to $300 million in wagers on March Madness

This year’s NCAA tourney also followed the lifting of the ban on remote registration in the state on March 5, which was likely a significant factor in the numbers bump. And even though there are still restrictions for Illinoisans betting on state college teams (only in-person betting is allowed), it didn’t seem to hamper overall wagering.

What’s more, BetMGM entered the fray in March as the state's seventh live mobile operator. The sportsbook had a decent debut, taking $43.6 million in online bets. 

The door was opened for BetMGM to enter the market via Par-A-Dice Casino after FanDuel vacated the position by transferring its sports-betting license to FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly known as Fairmount Park).

Top monthly performers 

FanDuel also led the way in both handle and revenue for March, registering $310.7 million in mobile wagering. 

DraftKings and BetRivers also made the nine-figure club with $284.2 million and $105.9 million in mobile betting handle, respectively. PointsBet rounded out the top four in wagering with about $77.1 million in online sports betting action during the month. 

In terms of preferred bets, hoops and parlays carried the load in Illinois, as basketball accounted for $554.3 million in retail and online betting during the month, and parlays brought in another $215.8 million.

Tennis was a distant third choice for bettors, tallying nearly $64 million in handle, while hockey and soccer were next in line with around $39 million and $35 million, respectively.

A newcomer on the way

The state’s sports-betting scene is also set to get a bit more crowded.

Las Vegas-based sportsbook Circa Sports announced on Monday that it has reached a deal with Full House Resorts that will allow the company to enter the Illinois market via the New American Place casino, which will be built in Waukegan, and the Circa mobile app. 

After launching in Nevada in 2019, Circa Sports set up shop in Colorado and, most recently, Iowa last October. Full House is expected to have the temporary casino open this fall, which will operate for 12 to 24 months while the permanent structure is completed.

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