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Officials predict big sports betting numbers for March in Illinois

A sports betting industry insider predicts Illinois will set an all-time state handle record in March and approach $1 billion in bets.

In-person registration goes away March 5, marking the first time new customers can register remotely in Illinois since last April.

Joe Boozell, with PlayIllinois.com, said the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will also help boost the numbers.

“The Super Bowl is the biggest individual betting event on the U.S. calendar, but in terms of all of March Madness as an event, that is the most popular sports betting event on the calendar,” Boozell said.

In 2021, Illinoisans bet $45.6 million on the big game. That number rose to just over $60 million in 2022, about a 25% increase.

Last March, $633 million was wagered. Adding 25% to that number comes to about $791 million. Factor in the rule change for in-person registration and the numbers could be even higher.

Last year, sports books made nearly $50 million in March revenue, resulting in about $7 million in state and local tax dollars.

Boozell said there are still restrictions if you want to bet on the Fighting Illini or Loyola.

“The Illinois rules are still weird,” Boozell said. “You can’t bet on Illinois college teams if you are in Illinois online, but you can at retail sportsbooks, which could be confusing to some.”

Legislation passed in the fall legalized limited betting on Illinois college teams. The provision expires in the summer of 2023.

This article was originally posted on Officials predict big sports betting numbers for March in Illinois

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