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Illinois breaks sports betting record with $286 million wagered on March Madness – The Mercury News

The Kansas Jayhawks, who made the biggest comeback in NCAA men’s basketball history last week and won the national championship against North Carolina, weren’t the only record holders in March Madness.

In Illinois, sports bettors legally betted a record $278.4 million during this year’s men’s tournament, according to total earnings released Tuesday by the Illinois Gaming Board. The women’s basketball tournament added another $7.8 million in stakes.

Almost 96% of bets were placed online, which was exacerbated by a law change in Illinois that allowed online sportsbooks to compete for new customers statewide.

The March Madness bets, totaling $286 million, gave Illinois Sportsbook $14.3 million in adjusted gross revenue — the money retained after winnings are paid out — with the state about 2 $.1 million in tax revenue.

In comparison, Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 generated approximately $61 million in wagering and $9.5 million in adjusted gross revenue from Illinois sports betting, according to the Gaming Board.

While it was only the second March legal betting craze in Illinois, the surge was helped by a change in the state’s sports betting law last month that is permanent eliminates personal registration Requirement. Illinois approved sports betting in 2019 as part of a sweeping gambling expansion bill, but customers had to sign up with a brick-and-mortar sportsbook to bet online.

Illinois has nine retail sportsbooks, seven of which offer online sportsbooks. FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, the three largest online sportsbooks in the US, are all affiliated with upstate casinos. The amended law opened the floodgates for sportsbooks to attract customers in the greater Chicago area, prompting a seemingly uninterrupted flash of TV ads throughout the month.

The states first sports betting opened at Rivers Casino Des Plaines in March 2020. Within days, BetRivers closed and March Madness was canceled at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. JB Pritzker waived the in-person registration requirement for 10 months during the pandemic before the state finally abolished it on March 5.

This year, for the first time, Illinois bettors were allowed to bet on Illinois college teams, but only in person at four Illinois sportsbooks. The two Illinois contestants in the 68-team field didn’t last long, with Illinois losing to Houston in the second round and Loyola losing to Ohio State in the first round.

When Kansas overcame a 16-point deficit to win the championship, it broke a 59-year record set by the Ramblers, who fought back from 15 points to win the 1963 title against Cincinnati.

Analysts predicted the amended law would take Illinois to a record $1 billion in legal sports betting in March. Totals for the month are yet to be released by the state.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

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https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/13/illinois-breaks-sports-betting-record-with-286-million-wagered-on-march-madness/ Illinois breaks sports betting record with $286 million wagered on March Madness – The Mercury News

Joel McCord

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