As March Madness begins, the American Gaming Association is predicting a large increase in betting revenue generated by the tournament. The Association is anticipating that 68 million Americans, or one in four adults, are expected to wager a record $15.5 billion. An increase from last year’s $3 billion, this projection includes everything from friendly wagers to workplace brackets to illegal betting through bookies.
As one of the leading sports betting states, Illinois could account for a significant portion of the total. Last year, Illinois residents accounted for a record $278.4 million in legal bets during the March basketball tournament, surging back after the previous two years of the pandemic. In pre-pandemic 2019, sports betting was only legal in a few states, but now it is legal in 36 states, another factor that points to a large spike in betting revenue.
In January, Illinois set a record of $1.07 billion in sports betting revenue, which generated approximately $14.4 million in tax revenue for the state. It is predicted the State will break that record again in February with the betting generated by the Super Bowl.
Two Illinois teams made the NCAA tournament this year. The Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois and the Wildcats of Northwestern University both seek success in this year’s tournament.