March Madness Drives Illinois Sports Betting To Record Month, 2nd In The Nation

Written By Dave Briggs on May 12, 2023 - Last Updated on May 16, 2023

Strong betting on the men’s and women’s March Madness tournaments is believed to have been the catalyst behind March being the best Illinois sports betting month in history.

Numbers released today by the Illinois Gaming Board show Illinois sportsbooks had total bets topping $1 billion in March. It is the fifth month in the last six that Illinois has surpassed $1 billion. The exact handle of $1,072,701,361 also narrowly bested the previous monthly record of $1,070,033,292 set in January 2023.

The March totals propelled Illinois to second place in the nation in both total bets for that month and revenue.

Illinois ranked second in the US in March in total handle behind only New York (nearly $1.8 million bet). New Jersey was third with total handle of $1,025,779,225.

In terms of revenue, Illinois raked in nearly $107.5 million. Only New York did better with more than $163.5 million.

Illinois ranked third in sports betting taxes collected in March at more than $15.6 million. New York collected over $83 million in taxes. Pennsylvania was second in the nation with taxes of more than $18.2 million in March. It’s important to note that the effective sports betting tax rate is 50.8% in New York and 27.4% in Pennsylvania. Sportsbooks in Illinois are taxed at an effective rate of 14.6%.

March Madness was a huge factor in sports betting in Illinois

The IGB did not release specific March Madness betting numbers this year. Though, in 2022, the IGB said Illinoisans collectively bet $286.2 million on the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments.

A similar number bet this year in Illinois on the NCAA tourneys explains the difference in handle between February and March. In February, with the Super Bowl being the lone NFL event, Illinois sportsbooks took in handle of $875.4 million. Add in betting on the March Madness tournaments and subtract the Super Bowl wagers and it’s easy to see how Illinois had a record-setting month in March.

Still, February was still a banner month for Illinois. The Prairie State ranked second in the United States in handle behind only New York ($1.47 billion) and ahead of New Jersey ($847.4 million), Nevada ($659.4 million) and Ohio ($639.8 million).

Prior to February, Illinois was riding a four-month streak with over $1 billion in handle each month. That streak made the Land of Lincoln just the fourth state to post four consecutive months of billion-dollar handle. The others are New York, New Jersey and Nevada.

IL sports betting revenue – March 2023

LicenseeOnline BrandHandleRevenueHoldTaxes
Fairmount ParkFanDuel$372,452,513$43,077,32311.6%$6,492,015
Casino Queen East St. LouisDraftKings$334,935,998$31,330,4879.4%$4,452,582
Rivers Des PlainesBetRivers$110,047,880$10,667,9719.7%$1,553,118
Grand VictoriaCaesars$79,824,566$5,611,3307.0%$676,193
Hollywood AuroraBarstool$50,494,577$3,827,7887.6%$583,039
Hollywood Joliet$1,538,829$204,41813.3%$19,849

March 2023


  1. New York — $1,792,885,345
  2. Illinois — $1,072,701,361
  3. New Jersey — $1,025,779,225
  4. Nevada — $829,842,964
  5. Ohio — $738,613,175


  1. New York — $163,582,116
  2. Illinois — $107,423,414
  3. Ohio — $95,313,123
  4. New Jersey — $93,039,999
  5. Pennsylvania — $66,465,774


  1. New York — $83,117,519
  2. Pennsylvania — $18,232,293
  3. Illinois — $15,650,984
  4. New Jersey — $13,083,369
  5. Ohio — $9,551,057

Illinois one of only two states showing sports betting growth

In the top 10 US sports betting jurisdictions, only Illinois and New York are showing growth in 2023.

New Jersey, which ranks neck-and-neck with Illinois, is showing signs of cooling off.

PlayIllinois is predicting that by the end of the year Illinois will hold down a solid spot as the second-best sports betting market in the nation, especially with the Circa Sportsbook expected to launch before the NFL season begins.

Through the first three months of the year, Illinois ranks second in handle (over $3 billion) behind only New York ($5 billion). The Prairie State is also second in revenue ($259 million) behind New York ($422 million). Illinois is third in taxes in 2023 ($42 million) behind New York (over $214 million) and Pennsylvania ($48 million).

By comparison, in March of 2022, Illinois had handle of more than $971 million (3rd), revenue of nearly $79.5 million (2nd) and collected taxes of more than $9.7 million (3rd).

Year-to-date through March 2022, Illinois was fourth in handle (over $2.5 billion), second in revenue (nearly $170 million) and second in taxes (over $26 million).

It’s important to note that in March of 2022, legislation came into effect allowing Illinois residents to sign-up online for sportsbooks, rather than doing so at one of the state’s land-based casinos. The decision to allow residents to register online with one of the state’s seven legal sportsbooks has been a boon to the industry.

Year-to-date rankings through March 2023:


  1. New York — $5,066,233,643
  2. Illinois — $3,018,122,442
  3. New Jersey — $2,955,417,869
  4. Ohio — $2,492,510,467
  5. Nevada — $2,424,715,059


  1. New York — $421,939,700
  2. Illinois — $259,273,388
  3. Ohio — $387,230,074
  4. New Jersey — $219,991,658
  5. Pennsylvania — $186,662,345


  1. New York — $214,614,106
  2. Pennsylvania — $47,925,302
  3. Illinois — $42,028,932
  4. Ohio — $38,779,419
  5. New Jersey — $31,237,403

Illinois third in lifetime sports betting with over $21.6 billion lifetime

In February, Illinois officially surpassed $20 billion in lifetime sports betting handle. With the March figures, that total is now more than $21.6 billion bet.

In January, Illinois jumped over Pennsylvania into third place in lifetime sports betting handle with over $19.7 billion bet on sports. Illinois’ January numbers also pushed the total, lifetime sports betting handle in the United States over $200 billion.

Illinois still ranks solidly third in total sports bets behind New Jersey (over $36.7 billion) and Nevada ($32 billion). Though, New York is gaining fast and will likely surpass Illinois in the next month or two.

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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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