Illinois Sees Record $971M Sports Betting Handle for March

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The NCAA-fueled Illinois sports betting witnessed a record handle for March by touching $1 billion for the first time.

The state’s previous record was $867.5 million in handle in January.

According to the latest numbers released Monday by the Illinois Gaming Board, the state’s sportsbooks took in more than $971 million in total handle, thanks to March Madness. Basketball action accounted for over $540 million of the total March handle in Illinois.

March’s handle was a significant jump of 43% from the $679 million the Prairie State witnessed for February, and a 53.3% increase year-over-year, from $633.6 million reported for March 2021.

It was the highest handle ever reported by any state outside New Jersey, Nevada, and New York in the post-PASPA era.

The March Madness and the removal of the in-person registration requirement helped Illinois post these numbers.

College Wagering Swelled to $350 Million

Of the total handle, basketball accounted for more than $540 million, and the total college betting for March swelled to $350.8 million. Nearly five million bets were placed on college wagering.

Previously, the IGB had reported over $286.2 million was wagered from the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments.

The Illinois sportsbooks won $79.4 million in gross revenue for March, representing a 155.6% increase from $31.1 million month-over-month and a 59.2% increase from $49.9 million reported in March 2021.

The Prairie State had reported its record sports betting revenue of $78.2 million in November 2021.

The state generated nearly $9.8 million in taxes – including those of Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago – from sports betting in March.

Parlay Wagering Pulls Lion’s Share in Revenue

Parlay wagering followed its usual trend in Illinois by posting the major portion of state operator revenue. In March, the parlay handle was $33.9 million – more than half of the total in the month.

FanDuel followed its dominating share in parlay betting with nearly $17.8 million from a $97.1 million handle, generating an 18.3% win rate.

March was also Caesars’ first month of parlay betting that met the official criteria. The Nevada-based casino giant, which bought the UK-based William Hill last year, had a 19.9% win rate on a $4.1 million handle, generating more than $820,000 in revenue.

With a 14% hold rate, DraftKings generated $9.2 million in revenue from $65.7 million in parlay handle. The Australian-based PointsBet generated $3.2 million in parley revenue from $16.3 million parlay wagering for a 19.7% hold.

Despite attracting over half a billion dollars, basketball betting took in nearly $17.2 million in operator revenue, thanks to a 3.2% win rate.

With more than $3.8 million in revenue, Tennis posted $63.9 million in March betting – the third highest handle as well as revenue.

Soccer and hockey rounded out the top five, with around $3.3 million and $2.7 million, respectively.

Rivers Casino Sets New Retail Betting Standards

Rivers Casino posted $21.6 million – the highest retail betting handle by any brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the state during the month.

It accounted for almost half the $43.7 million for retail wagering in the Prairie State. The revenue share ($1.4 million) of the top Illinois casino was also nearly 50% of the total $3.1 million in retail sports betting revenue in the state.

Casino Queen was the distant second in both handle ($5 million) and revenue ($870,000). Argosy Casino Alton rounded out the third spot as it took in $3.6 million in bets and over $435,000 in revenue.

Illinois’s two horse racing tracks with sports betting combined for nearly $4.3 million in bets and roughly $400,000 in revenue.

Illinois Online Sports Betting Flourishes in Less-Restrained Market

March was the first month of wagering after the state removed in-person registration requirement permanently for mobile betting. It became effective March 5.

Illinois bettors are no longer required to register at a physical sportsbook – a legal requirement that has discouraged many new bettors from enjoying wagering on their favorite sports.

Mobile betting accounted for $927.5 million – or 95.5% – of total Illinois sports betting handle in March.

The New York-based FanDuel led Illinois online sports betting with $310.7 million. The Boston-based DraftKings followed with a $284.2 million mobile handle.

According to analyst Jake Garza, March madness and the permanent removal of in-person registration proved to be a formidable combination. “This is what a less-restrained market in Illinois looks like,” he said.

While predicting the Illinois market could see its first $1 billion month not until September, Garza said the NBA playoffs, baseball, and major golf tournaments would keep Illinois bettors engaged in the coming months.

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