Americans expect to wager $8.5 billion on this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, with 1-in-5 adults placing a bet, according to American Gaming Association research.
Key findings from the survey include:
- 47 million American adults will wager $8.5 billion on March Madness
- $4.6 billion will be wagered on a collective 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people
- In addition to those filling out brackets, 18 million more Americans will place $3.9 billion in bets at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie or with a friend
- 4.1 million will bet at a casino sportsbook or using a legal app
- 2.4 million will bet illegally with a bookie and 5.2 million more will bet online, likely at an illegal offshore site
- There is a direct correlation between entertainment and fan engagement. 57% of Americans acknowledged that if a team they bet on was in the Final Four, those games would be more entertaining
- Sports bettors are a valuable demographic: 24% of men and 27% of those making more than $100,000 a year will fill out a bracket
Previous AGA research has found that sports pool betting – including popular March Madness bracket contests – are illegal in many states.
The widespread betting on March Madness highlights Americans’ interest in sports betting and reinforces the need for states to provide a legal, regulated market for sports betting.
This survey was conducted on behalf of the AGA by Morning Consult between March 1-7, 2019, among a national sample of 11,002 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and 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 +/- 1% and greater among subgroups. Bettors include those who expect to place a bet online, with a bookie, with a casino sportsbook, casually with a friend or participate in a bracket contest.