March Madness Betting Begins in the United States

Summary: For the first time ever, March Madness sports betting will take place legally outside the state of Nevada.

For many years, the only state in which NCAA sports fans could place wagers on March Madness was in Nevada. However, now that sports betting is open across the United States, several states have legalized the option and will be offering betting services for the popular tournament series. It is expected that sports betting wagering on March Madness could generate more revenues for the states that offer legalized services than the Super Bowl.

Last Year’s Numbers

In 2018, sports betting in Nevada was booming during March Madness with over $300 million wagered on the NCAA tournament series. Of course, in other states, players were wagering illegally to get in on the action. According to the American Gaming Association, it has been estimated that $10 billion was wagered illegally during last year’s tournaments.

With the decision by the United States Supreme Court in May of last year, every state now has the option to legalize and regulate online gambling if they so choose.

Several states have already started offering services including Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Each of these states are currently offering March Madness betting and the long running NCAA tournament will most likely see millions of dollars in wagers. In some states, players are limited to in-person wagers, but in some there is also the option to place a bet online. New Jersey provides mobile sports betting and should se a huge uptick in wagers placed thanks to March Madness.

Estimated Betting Numbers

Because the option to wager legally on March Madness games is more readily available this year, it has been estimated that as much as $8.5 billion is to be placed on the NCAA games of the tournament series this year. The American Gaming Association has come up with that figure after surveying the gambling industry of the US.

March Madness begins tomorrow and will end on April 8th, offering several weeks of tournament action. Players will be able to wager on individual games as well as prop bets and more. The favorite team of the series is Duke University, with 29% of those surveyed by the AGA saying the school will come out the winner of the series.

It is expected that Americans will be wagering around 40% more than they normally would at this time due to the increase in options for legal sports betting. The reason for the increase in betting is due to the popularity of the series.

Sports fans across the United States usually take place in some type of wagering, be it with friends or office pools, regarding March Madness. Millions of people enjoy filling out brackets, hoping to make the right picks when it comes to which teams will finish at the top.

With legalized sports betting now in play, players will be able to wager big bucks and hopefully see the outcome they desire via a sportsbook at a casino. Because they offer mobile sports betting, it is expected that New Jersey will be the top performing state when it comes to wagers placed and revenue earned.

Unfortunately for Rhode Island and West Virginia, the two states were unable to get online wagering started before March Madness arrived. For New Jersey, the state offers mobile and online wagering, opening up the option for players across the state to enjoy betting without having to leave the comforts of home.

It will be interesting to see once March Madness is over, just how much was spent and earned in the US now that the option is more readily available.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.