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 PlayIllinois.com expects $275 million to be bet on the tournament in Illinois, a significant jump from last year’s $200 million.
“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 American calendar,” Boozell said. “The sheer amount of games, I mean there are 68 teams who are going to be in it.”
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.
“Thousands of fans will be traveling to games in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, and Pennsylvania over the course of the tournament,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA.com “How much of a boost that will be to sportsbooks is still an open question, but it will make a difference.”
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.
“If Illinois goes on a Final Four run, I think you could see some heavily increased foot traffic at some of these casinos and retail sportsbooks,” Boozell said.
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.
This article was originally posted on Illinoisans expected to bet big on this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament