Sports Betting in Illinois Will Go Live in Time for March Madness

Basketball on Two TV ScreensJust in time for one of the biggest sport’s betting events of the year, March Madness, sports betting in Illinois will finally go live.

That gives sports bettors in the state a lot to celebrate about. Not only will Illinois bettors be able to bet at casino sportsbooks, but they will be able to bet through those casino’s mobile apps as well. After sports betting officially goes live, after 18 months, mobile sports betting will only be available through online casinos, such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

According to Governor JB Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh:

“The Governor is pleased that Illinois sportsbooks will open for business by March Madness, generating revenue to rebuild universities, hospitals and other facilities across the state,” Abudayyeh said.

While no official date has been released for sports betting to go live, it will likely be before March 17, which is the first game of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.

How Illinois Has Been Preparing for Sports Betting

In Illinois, three casinos issued out temporary sports betting operating permits. Those casinos include Des Plaines’ Rivers Casino, Alton’s Argosy Casino, and Elgin’s Grand Victoria Casino.

Last June, the General Assembly passed a mass gambling expansion package, and have been ironing out the details and rules that would govern sports betting since then.

Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Summit, a key player who helped push sports betting legislation through the General Assembly, remained optimistic throughout the long process that led up to this point. He offered this optimistic foresight into the state of sports betting last month:

“I think with the introduction of the second round of rules that were introduced last week … I expect that hopefully we will be able to place a legal sports bet by March Madness – that’s my aspirational goal,” Zalewski said. “I hope for March Madness but the sooner the better. A lot of work went into this and I’m excited about the opportunity.”

March Madness Sports Betting Stats

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), an estimated $8.5 billion was wagered during last year’s March Madness alone. With more states offering legalized sports betting, that number is only expected to increase.

Here are AGA’s current statistics for March Madness betting:

  • 47 million adults in the US will wager on the NCAA Tournament.
  • 40 million people will fill out a bracket and wager $4.6 billion doing so.
  • 18 million Americans will bet $3.9 billion at some form of sportsbook.
  • 2.4 million will bet with an illegal bookie.
  • 5.2 million will bet on an illegal offshore website.
  • 4.1 million will wager through a regulated retail or online sportsbook.

Types of March Madness Bets

Futures of one of the most popular bets you can place during March Madness, and they are bets you can make all season long. The most common type of futures bet is picking the winner of the national championship. Other futures bets including choosing which conference will win the title, and which player will be crowned “most outstanding player.”

Happy betting, Illinois!