Illinoisans Bet Big on NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

A sports betting insider says the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament should easily quadruple what was bet in Illinois on the Super Bowl. The tournament kicks off in earnest Thursday and will go until a champion is crowned April 4 in New Orleans. Joe Boozell from expects $275 million to be bet on the tournament in Illinois, a significant jump from last year’s $200 million.

Nationally, between $2.5 billion and $3 billion is expected to be wagered at legal sportsbooks, a significant jump from the $1.4 billion placed on last year’s NCAA tournament. Last year because of the pandemic, all games were played in Indiana. This year, six tournament sites will host games in legal sports betting jurisdictions.

The Fighting Illini and Loyola are the only Illinois teams in the tournament, but Illinoisans can’t place wagers on them using their phones and are required to bet in-person. Last year, Illinois sportsbooks made nearly $50 million in revenue off the tournament, resulting in about $7 million in state and local tax dollars. According to Boozell, those numbers are expected to be dwarfed by this month’s numbers.