Illinois Sports Betting Sees Big Jump In March Madness

Written By Matthew Waters on April 13, 2022
Illinois sports betting

It appears remote signups will have a decent impact on Illinois sports betting as March Madness handle is up significantly over last year.

Just how significantly is not entirely clear, though. The Illinois Gaming Board on Tuesday announced $286.2 million in March Madness betting on both the men’s and women’s tournaments this year.

That is up 61.9% from the reported $176.8 million bet with five of six Illinois sportsbooks last year. The IGB did not respond to requests for full 2021 tournament data this year after denying the request last year.

March Madness breakdown for Illinois sports betting

Incomplete data from 2021 aside, the IGB provided a lot of detail for the two tournaments:

  • The men’s tournament accounted for 97.3% of all handle with $278.4 million bet, compared to $7.8 million on the women’s tournament.
  • Of the $286.2 million total bet, $274.4 million, or 95.9% was bet online.
  • Live in-game betting accounted for 25.1% of the handle with $71.9 million bet during the games.

This year, the seven live mobile Illinois sportsbooks and two retail sportsbooks combined for $14.3 million in revenue for a 5% hold and $2.1 million in state taxes paid. That is down from the $14.6 million in revenue reported for the five sportsbooks last year.

Remote signup already shifting tides?

It looks like the end of in-person registration at the beginning of March might lead to more evenly distributed market share than before.

While comparisons to last year’s online handle share in March are far from perfect, especially considering the last three games of both tournaments were played in April, they will have to do until the full March report is released in mid-May.

OperatorOnline handleTournament Handle shareMarch '21 Handle Share

Lower combined share for top three

The tournament share shows a much less lopsided distribution of share for the top three. Last March, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers combined for 81.2% of all online handle.

This tournament, the top three, which includes PointsBet now and not BetRivers, combined for 73%.

Do not be surprised if that top three share continues to decline. BetMGM is a new entrant after launching the same day as remote mobile went live March 5 while Caesars Sportsbook launched a new, improved platform shortly after that.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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