Illinoisans May Have Bet Over $200 Million On March Madness Alone

Written By Joe Boozell on April 21, 2021
IL march madness handle

According to Illinois Gaming Board ( IGB ) Administrator Marcus Fruchter, Illinois posted at least$ 76.8 million in the March Madness sports betting handle, excluding one operator.

IL sportsbooks’ profit of at least $14.6 million generated a minimum of $2.1 million in tax revenue. We are unsure which technician is not accounted for in these figures.

During Wednesday morning’s IGB meeting, preliminary numbers revealed that sportsbooks accounted for 8.3% of the total handle. The complete figures for March will likely be available in a few weeks, at which point Illinois could potentially break the all-time record for the regular handle.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) reported that Illinois residents bet $45.6 million on the Super Bowl, indicating the Prairie State’s enthusiasm for major events. Additionally, numerous sportsbooks experienced app outages during the Super Bowl.

This is only the second March Madness where sports betting has been allowed in the Land of Lincoln, so we don’t have actual data points to review. However, the figure of $176.8 million appears to be rather substantial at first glance.

By the time the secret operator provided numbers, the handle had been split $200 million.

Of course, the handle has been raised even further.

Why the March sports betting control in Illinois might be gaudy

Though the $178.6 million mark is notable, it could have been significantly higher if Illinois residents were allowed to place bets on state college teams during March Madness.

Illinois and Loyola-Chicago both advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they clashed in the Round of 32.

Naturally, in the Land of Lincoln, betting on interstate school teams is illegal. This was especially clear and disagreeable for Illinois bettors in March.

A spokesperson from DraftKings informed Play Illinois that the game between Illinois and Loyola-Chicago had the second-highest handle of all Sunday Round of 32 games during the tournament. This was achieved even without any bets from Illinois.

Hopefully, the ban will be removed by next year’s March Madness. A bill proposing this change is currently under consideration.

Of course, the more urgent issue is the return of in-person registration, which may persist for quite some time.

Before March Madness gambling, Barstool went live.

Barstool Sportsbook launched on March 11, ending Illinois’ status of having only five online sportsbooks since mid-September.

Barstool was present during all the event competitions throughout the entire NCAA Tournament.

Considering the significance of Barstool’s build numbers, it would be intriguing to observe how it stacks up against its main competitors in the state. Without online registration from April onwards, it will be challenging for Barstool to keep pace with websites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and so on.

AP pictures by Darron Cummings
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Boozell, Joe

Joe Boozell has been a sports writer for since 2015, in addition to his work appearing in Bleacher Report,, and As a youngster, he had the opportunity to play against basketball stars Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicago area.

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