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Report says March Madness will create $8.5bn betting bonanza

One in five Americans will place a bet on the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament according to new analysis by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

AGA data, released Monday, indicated that 47 million American adults will collectively wager somewhere near $8.5bn (€7.5bn) during March Madness. Of that figure, $4.6bn will be wagered on a collective 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people; nearly 18 million people will wager $3.9bn at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie or with a friend, and 4.1 million will place a bet at a casino sportsbook or using a legal app.

Eight US states now have legal, regulated sports betting markets after the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May last year which had previously outlawed sports betting in most US states. The AGA report indicated more than $5.9bn has been wagered in those eight US states since the ruling.

“During this year’s tournament – the first in post-PASPA America – sports fans are expected to bet 40 per cent more than they did on this year’s Super Bowl,” said Bill Miller, AGA’s president and chief executive officer. “Unlike any other sporting event in the country, March Madness attracts millions who fill out brackets, make casual bets with friends or wager at a legal sportsbook, which Americans can now do more than ever before.

However, the AGA report also suggested some 2.4 million will seek to bet illegally with a bookmaker while a further 5.2 million will place online bets with illegal offshore sites.

“These results indicate there’s still work to do to eradicate the vast illegal sports betting market in this country, and we’re committed to ensuring sound policies are in place to protect consumers, like the 47 million Americans who will bet on March Madness,” continued Miller.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the AGA by Morning Consult between March 1-7, 2019, among a national sample of 11,002 adults.