March Madness: 68 million American adults plan to bet on it this year


The 2023 men’s NCAA March Madness tournament will likely be one of the biggest sports betting events in U.S. history.

Americans plan to wager roughly $15.5 billion on the March Madness tournament this year, up from $3.1 billion in 2022, according to estimates from the American Gaming Association, when accounting for legal wagers at regulated sportsbooks, bracket contests and casual bets with friends.

“March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports — and America’s most wagered-on competition,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Critically, the expansion of regulated sports betting over the past five years has brought safeguards to more than half of American adults who can now bet legally in their home market.”

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In total, 68 million American adults say they plan to place at least some kind of bet on this year’s tournament, compared with 45 million people who said the same in 2022. March Madness is also expected to lure more people to wager than the 2023 Super Bowl, which saw 50.4 million bettors.

The Super Bowl is consistently the most-wagered-on single event of the year. At times, NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament has seen more wagers, but it’s a series of games, and not a single game.

Since last year’s March Madness tournament, more U.S. states have legalized online sports betting, including Massachusetts, Kansas and Ohio.

In 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ended the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, it gave states individual legislative power to legalize sports betting. Some form of live sports wagering is legal in 33 states, plus Washington, D.C., according to the AGA.

The 2023 tournament will have Las Vegas, Nev., the sports betting capital of the world, as one of the regional host locations. This marks the first time Las Vegas has hosted part of the March Madness tournament, and could create extra buzz about the games. Similarly, the 2023 Super Bowl was the first time the game was played in a state (Arizona) where betting was legal at the time of the game.

Alabama, Houston, Kansas and Purdue are the top seeds in this year’s tournament, with Alabama earning its first-ever No. 1 seed in the tournament in school history.

As of Monday morning, the most popular teams that bettors are choosing to wager on to win the entire tournament are Kentucky (9%), followed by Texas A&M (8%), Gonzaga, UCLA and Alabama (6%). Houston is seen as the betting favorite to win the tournament, according to DraftKings
Sportsbook, followed by Alabama and Purdue.

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The opening First Four game of the tournament starts on Tuesday, March 14, when the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks play the Texas A&M Christi Islanders at 6:40 p.m. EST.




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