Illinois Sports Bettors Bet Heavy on Men’s College Basketball Tournament

It appears many Illinoisans had a financial interest in March Madness this year.  

According to, $286.2 million was bet on both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, a record amount. That is a big jump from last year when the March Madness handle was around $200 million.

Nearly 96% of the bets were placed online, boosted by a change in state law March 5 that allowed online sportsbooks to acquire new customers remotely. It was legal to bet on Illinois college teams in person for the first time, but analyst Joe Boozell said it didn’t have much of an impact.

“Obviously it didn’t help that Illinois and Loyola didn’t do particularly well,” said Boozell.  

The tourney total netted Illinois sportsbooks $14.3 million in adjusted gross receipts with the state receiving about $2.1 million in tax revenue.

Sportsbooks held only 5% of the total handle, a number that is usually closer to 10%.  

“Sportsbooks made only $5 million more than the Super Bowl, but way more was bet on March Madness, so basically what that means is the public came out pretty good,” said Boozell.

DraftKings was the top online sportsbook, taking in over $105 million in handle during the tournament. It was followed by FanDuel and BetRivers.

Boozell believes the monthly sports betting numbers in Illinois will approach $900 million, solidifying the state as possibly the No. 2 sports betting market in the country come football season behind only New York.

***Report Courtesy of the Illinois Radio Network***

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