The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament tips off Tuesday, and it’s already shaping up to be a historic one — for sports betting, at least.
Legal sports betting in the U.S. for the tournament could reach — or perhaps surpass — $3 billion, according to at least two studies. A third group suggested it could reach $10 billion.
The Big Dance often draws more betting activity than the Super Bowl, per PlayUSA. But this year, it could notch three times the amount of Super Bowl bets — and break a betting record for U.S. sporting events.
- Because of the tournament’s popularity and condensed schedule, it’s always a top sports betting event, PlayUSA.com analyst Eric Ramsey said.
- This year, sports betting is legal in several more U.S. states than it was last year — including record-breaking New York — and most states have little, if any, restrictions on college sports betting.
- “This year will easily shatter the record for the most bet-on event set last year,” Ramsey said.
About 45 million people will likely participate, according to the American Gaming Association’s study, conducted with Morning Consult. They’ll place about 76% of bets outside bracket challenges — a significant uptick from last year.
New Industry Partnerships
The gambling industry was always considered taboo in college sports. Now, it’s infiltrated NCAA sports in more ways than one.