The numbers are in, and Illinois just eclipsed another milestone. How big? Let’s say the sports betting market in the Prairie State is hovering close to $1 billion.
In March, betting at Illinois sportsbooks was up 53.3%, thanks to March Madness and the removal of in-person registration.
According to data released by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), sportsbooks across the state combined to take in $971.3 million in wagers.
Wagers on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament totaled $278.4 million, helping the state shatter the previous monthly handle record of $867.5 million.
Illinois gambling market continues to shine
As a unit, sportsbooks generated $79.4 million in gross revenue in March, up 59.2% from the same time last year. The previous monthly revenue record was set in November 2021, when sportsbooks generated $78.2 million.
As previously mentioned, the surge in handle and revenue could be attributed to March Madness, which is popular in Illinois and across the US. Additionally, March was also the first month of betting following the removal of the state in-person registration requirement.
In 2019, the state passed the Sports Wagering Act, which legalized sports betting. However, customers had to register for betting accounts in-person at local casinos. A year later, at the height of the pandemic, Gov. JB Pritzker removed the in-person requirement to help calm the spread of COVID-19.
Following a decline in COVID-19 cases, Pritzker returned the in-person requirement, which would only last until it was repealed in October 2021.
What about online gambling in Illinois?
According to the IGB, online gambling accounted for 95.5% of all wagers in March, translating to $927.5 million. FanDuel was the top operator reporting $315.3 million in online and retail bets.
DraftKings Sportsbook and online casino were second with $289.2 million in combined online and retail handle.
It’s no surprise basketball was the top sport wagered on in March. The men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments and the NBA drew $554.3 million in bets.
There are currently seven online sportsbooks and 11 retail sportsbooks in Illinois. A 12th retail sportsbook will be opening at the American Place Casino in Waukegan, IL, operated by Circa Sports.
Online operators include: