Illinois Sports Betting Handle Reaches Record $971 Million In March

Illinois set a state record for total handle from sports betting in March at more than $971 million, according to data released by the Illinois Gaming Board. The monthly total is the highest ever by a U.S. state in the Midwest, having been eclipsed previously only by New York, New Jersey, and Nevada.

Three factors helped contribute to the lofty monthly handle for Illinois sports betting, which saw a 43% increase over February. Those factors were the removal of the in-person registration requirement, March Madness, and the end of the NBA regular season. As the state approaches the $1 billion mark in monthly handle, Illinois has become one of the country’s biggest sports betting markets.

Sports bettors can now register with their favorite Illinois sports betting app and place their bets from anywhere easily on a mobile device.

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Most Popular Sports For Betting In Illinois

In March, basketball was king in Illinois, with $540 million of the handle coming from that sport. College basketball accounted for more than half of that total, with $286.2 million coming from bets on the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments. In spite of its popularity, basketball wagers were not that profitable for the sportsbooks as they reported a 3.2% win rate for March, for $17.2 million in combined revenue.

In March, gross sports wagering revenue came in at nearly $62 million, resulting in a hold of 6.5% for the operators. Of that figure, more than half ($33 million) was a result of parlay bets, which remain popular in the Land of Lincoln. Operators reported a 15.8% win rate on parlay bets for March.

Tennis followed college and professional basketball as the most popular sports to bet on for March, a month where there was no football or baseball available. Professional soccer and ice hockey were next, followed by MMA and boxing.

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Top Illinois Sportsbooks For March Betting Handle

BetMGM Illinois made a great impression in its first full month of operating in Illinois. The sportsbook reported a monthly handle of $43 million in Illinois as it became the seventh sportsbook to launch in the state. BetMGM ranked sixth among the seven sportsbooks, finishing ahead of Caesars.

  1. FanDuel … $310.7 million
  2. DraftKings … $284.2 million
  3. BetRivers … $105.9 million
  4. PointsBet … $77.0 million
  5. Barstool Sports … $66.8 million
  6. BetMGM … $43.6 million
  7. Caesars … $39.2 million

Four of the seven operators set personal records for monthly handle in March. Combined, revenue increased by 70% in March as compared to February a huge jump that sent more taxes to the state.

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Highest Monthly Sports Betting Total Handle In The U.S.

New York set the U.S. record for monthly sports betting handle at $1.68 billion in January 2022. That state also has the next two highest monthly figures, as the Empire State has become the biggest market in the United States quickly since online sports betting launched in January.

New Jersey has topped $1 billion six times, most recently in March 2022 with $1.12 billion. The state record for New Jersey is $1.34 billion and was set in January 2022 thanks to the NFL Playoffs.

In Nevada, the total handle from sports betting exceeded $1 billion every month from October 2021 to January 2022, largely due to NFL action. The Nevada monthly record for total handle is $1.109 billion set in January of this year.

Illinois Online Sports Betting Overwhelmingly Popular

Sports bettors have a choice in Illinois: wager at a retail sportsbook or do so online through an app or sportsbook website. Customers in the state overwhelmingly prefer the online form of sports betting. As Illinois set the state record for monthly handle in March, $928 million of the total came from wagers placed online. The state’s retail sportsbooks combined for a little more than $43 million in total handle.

Even before the record month, Illinois had surpassed $10 billion in all-time sports betting handle.

Rivers Casino eclipsed its previous monthly record in March with $21.6 million in bets, tops in the state. Casino Queen followed with $5 million in sports betting wagers accepted at its retail location, with Argosy Casino Alton tallying $3.6 million in bets for third place.

Two horse racing tracks accept sports bets in Illinois: the FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, and Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney. Those sportsbooks reported a combined $4.3 million for March of 2022. Lastly, East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Casino accepted $2.8 million in sports bets in March.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.