The Illinois Gaming Board has not yet revealed the March sports betting numbers, but it has given a small preview of what is to be expected. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament provided a boost in markets throughout the US, and Illinois could be one of the states that benefits the most.
According to a statement from the IGB, sports betting handle on the NCAA Tournament is $176.8 million. That number includes all but one of the operators, and the number will go up even more when the entire market has reported figures.
It was Marcus Fruchter, IGB administrator, that gave an update on the numbers. His report went on to state that sportsbooks posted revenue of more than $14 million on NCAA Tournament games.
The Super Bowl sports betting handle was $45.6 million in Illinois, but the NCAA Tournament covered a span of three weeks. Illinois will likely set a new state record for both handle and revenue after the entire month’s totals have been calculated.
January 2021 is currently the best month on record for the state of Illinois, as the sports betting handle was over $581 million for that month.
No Betting on Illinois Teams
The impressive March Madness betting numbers were done without Illinois bettors being able to place bets on in-state teams. There is a rule in place that prevents sportsbooks from accepting pre-game or future wagers on college teams that compete in the Land of Lincoln.
The University of Illinois and Loyola-Chicago were the only two teams from the state that made it in the field of 68, but these teams would have drawn plenty of action.
The Fighting Illini were popular futures betting pick in other states but were off the board in Illinois. Lawmakers have attempted to get this ban removed from current sports betting regulations, but there has not been enough support.
In-Person Registration in Place
The March total sports betting handle could top the $600 million mark, but it will likely be the last month that the state sees numbers that high. In-person registration returned at the beginning of April, and that requirement is expected to hurt the market in a big way.
Illinois and Nevada are now the only two states in the United States that require in-person registration, and it limits the number of new customers that sign up for an account. Governor J.B. Pritzker can remove this requirement at any time, or lawmakers could be looking to pass a new law to allow for remote registration.
New General Assembly in Place
There is potential for some rule changes to be implemented in the state of Illinois now that a new General Assembly is in place. There won’t be a massive change in the thoughts and beliefs of representatives and senators, but this could result in some new laws.
The Illinois Gaming Board will be keeping a close eye on the upcoming sports betting numbers, and a decline could convince lawmakers that a change is needed. Illinois is a state that needs the revenue from sports betting, and it can’t afford to have the market head in the wrong direction.
Even though the sports betting industry is well-established at this point in Illinois, look for this industry to be a topic of discussion over the next few weeks in the General Assembly.