The Illinois Gaming Board released the March sports betting numbers on Monday, and it was a record-setting month for the Land of Lincoln. The March total sports betting handle was $633.6 million, easily shattering the previous record of $581.5 million in January.
March saw a jump of nearly 25 percent from the disappointing February numbers, but it was a slow month for the entire US industry. Illinois was the third-largest market in the US for the month of March in terms of handle, and it was the second-largest in terms of revenue.
The total sports betting revenue in March was $44.3 million, which was an increase of 25.2% from February. The large increase in handle and revenue allowed the state to collect $7.2 million in tax revenue from the growing industry.
Illinois launched sports betting in March 2020, but it took the state several months to start posting some solid numbers. This state has consistently been in the top five since sports resumed throughout the US, but that run could be soon coming to an end.
Mobile Leads Way For Now
Mobile or online sports betting accounted for 96 percent of the total handle in Illinois in March, and it has been above 90 percent almost every single month. The mobile handle was $609 million in March, which was an increase of 24 percent from February.
This trend is not likely to continue in the coming months as Governor J.B. Pritzker has failed to extend his Executive Order allowing for remote registration. There was a big push in early April to get customers signed up prior to the deadline, but it will be hard for companies to attract new sportsbooks.
Retail sportsbooks are expected to see a boost as COVID-19 restrictions in Illinois are being lifted.
Basketball Leads the Way
The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament helped the state set a new record in March, and basketball was clearly the most popular betting market in Illinois. The sport of basketball accounted for $365.7 million of the total handle, and bettors in the state weren’t even allowed to bet on the in-state teams in March Madness.
Parlays have become a popular betting option throughout the country, and that type of betting brought in $122 million in March in Illinois. Tennis ($47.2 million), hockey ($32.8 million), and soccer ($29.1 million) were next on the list in terms of betting markets.
US Sets New Record
The high sports betting handle total from Illinois helped the entire US industry set a new record for the month of March. US sports betting handle topped $4.6 billion for the first time, and there were eight different states that went over $300 million.
New Jersey continues to lead the way as that state reported a total sports betting handle of $859.6 million for the month. Nevada was the second-largest market for the month of March, posting a total handle of $641 million.
Pennsylvania has been third for many consecutive months, but that state had a total sports betting handle of just $560.3 million, allowing Illinois to take over that position.