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March Madness is the “Most Popular Sports Betting Event” in Illinois

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
12 min read
March Madness Most Popular Illinois
  • Industry Insider Joe Boozell Predicts March Madness Could Generate $1B in Illinois
  • March Madness vs Super Bowl: Which Produces More Gambling Action in Illinois?
  • No Betting on Illinois College Teams for Mobile Prairie State Punters

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Industry Insider Joe Boozell Predicts March Madness Could Generate $1B in Illinois

Up until last Saturday, in order to gamble on sports Illinois bettors had to register in-person at one of the state’s land-based casinos, but now it’s become legal for punters to sign up from anywhere in the state using the mobile option.

That sudden shift in the market is expected to increase the state’s overall handle and revenue, and with the NCAA’s March Madness Tournament coming up, one industry insider is predicting big wagering numbers in the Prairie State.

Joe Boozell, a spokesperson for PlayIllinois, is not shy with his predictions for a record Final Four in 2022, suggesting it could hit the $1 billion mark and that it should surpass the Super Bowl numbers, saying:

“The Super Bowl is the biggest individual betting event on the U.S. calendar, but in terms of all of March Madness as an event, that is the most popular sports betting event on the calendar.”

When you look at the numbers, it’s clear Boozell makes a solid point.

March Madness vs Super Bowl: Which Produces More Gambling Action in Illinois?

In February, Land of Lincoln gamblers posted a $60 million handle on the most recent Super Bowl which was a 25% increase from the prior Big Game numbers, a clear sign that the sport of betting is becoming a popular past time in Illinois.

Compare that to last year’s March Madness numbers when Illinois bettors spent $633 million wagering on the Final Four Tournament, ten times the handle of Super Bowl LVI, though next year when mobile registering has been in place those Big Game numbers could shift, as well.

So far there is no indication that a ceiling has been hit and that has to excite the industry leaders and state lawmakers who paved the way for this new lucrative market that so far has netted $104 million in state tax revenue since that market has launched to the end of 2021.

One thing mobile Illinois gamblers still can’t bet on are teams from their own state.

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No Betting on Illinois College Teams for Mobile Prairie State Punters

As Boozell is quick to point out, the way the sports betting law is written can be unclear, with bettors now able to place in-person wagers on Illinois college teams but not if you’re using the mobile apps, saying:

“The Illinois rules are still weird. You can’t bet on Illinois college teams if you are in Illinois online, but you can at retail sportsbooks, which could be confusing to some.”

Chances are gamblers will figure it out and as time goes on the overall handle in Illinois will continue to grow and expand, especially since the mobile option makes it more convenient and the fact that Covid restrictions are gradually being lifted the in-person options can become safe and fun again.

March Madness created almost $50 million in Illinois sports betting revenue last year netting about $7 million in state and local tax dollars that benefitted residents of the state at a time when most people are still recovering from their pandemic fiscal losses.

Be sure to take part in the March Madness excitement by breaking open your betting kitty and placing some wagers on the brackets, a fun way to join in on the yearly tournament that continues to attract millions of sports fans.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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