68 Million Americans to Wager on March Madness
Growth of Legal Market Driving Tournament Betting
Washington, D.C. – A quarter of all American adults (68 million) plan to wager $15.5 billion on this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, according to a new survey from the American Gaming Association (AGA).
- 31 million American adults plan to place a traditional sports wager online, at a retail sportsbook or with a bookie.
- 21.5 million plan to bet casually with friends.
- 56.3 million plan to participate in a bracket contest.
“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.”
The growth in March Madness betting is driven by a resurgence of bracket contests as well as Americans taking advantage of the expansion of legal online wagering. Three-fourths of online bettors say this will be their first time betting on March Madness online.
While 18 million more American adults plan to wager on March Madness compared to last month’s Super Bowl, Americans are expected to wager half a billion dollars less on the tournament than they planned to wager on the Big Game.
Since last year’s tournament, Kansas, Massachusetts and Ohio have launched retail and mobile sports betting markets, while Maryland has launched mobile wagering. This year’s March Madness—with 67 games over three weeks—will be the first to feature Las Vegas as a regional host location.
“With the excitement around March Madness, the AGA and our members want to remind anyone getting in on the action to have a game plan to bet responsibly. That means setting a budget, knowing the odds, keeping it social and always playing legally,” added Miller.
Among bettors, Kentucky is the most popular choice to win the national title (9%), followed by Texas A&M (8%), and Gonzaga, UCLA and Alabama (6%).
- 33 states and Washington, D.C. currently feature live, legal sports betting markets, with three additional legal markets awaiting launch.
- More than half of American adults (57%, 146M) live in a live, legal sports betting market.
- AGA’s Have A Game Plan.® Bet Responsibly.™campaign is bringing sports betting stakeholders together to promote responsible gaming.
Morning Consult conducted the online survey on behalf of the AGA between March 1-3, among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. The margin of error is +/- 2 percent and greater among subgroups. Bettors include those who expect to place a bet online, with a bookie, with a casino sportsbook, casually with family or friends, or as part of a bracket contest.