The first weekend of March Madness is one of the busiest weekends of the year in Las Vegas.
Casinos, sportsbooks, restaurants, bars and watch parties have been feeling the madness of March for a few weeks. They will be packed for the four-day weekend.
Needless to say, there’s a lot for March Madness travelers to keep in mind when visiting Las Vegas to watch and wager on the games.
Every year, Nevada sees more money wagered on the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament than most sports events. The only other occasion that comes close is betting on the Super Bowl.
Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, the overall amount of money wagered on March Madness around the country is exploding. The American Gaming Association (AGA) is expecting 45 million people to wager on March Madness around the country. The AGA expects more than $3 billion to be bet on the NCAA basketball tournament.
Based on recent sports betting handle around the country Nevada probably won’t be the state where the most money is bet on March Madness. New York and New Jersey are much larger states and often post handle similar or larger than Nevada.
Pennsylvania and Illinois are also larger markets but they may not be as mature as the other big states with legal sports betting. The combination of new and larger states offering legal sports betting will make this the biggest betting event for college basketball.
Betting March Madness Across The Country
According to the AGA, more than 17% of adults in the US will bet on March Madness. This equates to approximately 45 million people.
The AGA expects that there will be a total of $3.1 billion bet on March Madness this year. This betting handle estimate includes both bracket wagering and betting with legal US sportsbooks.
Unlike previous years before legal sports betting expanded, Americans plan to bet more with sportsbooks than on brackets. The AGA says it expects Americans to place 76% of their wagers outside of brackets. This is a big jump from 55% last year.
“Americans continue to make it clear: they want to wager with the protections of the legal, regulated market.” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “There’s no doubt this year will generate the highest legal handle in March Madness history.”
More Legal Sports Betting Around The US
The expected increase in March Madness betting with sportsbooks can easily be linked with new states offering sports betting. This year, 29 million more American adults can legally bet on sports in their home state than last year at this time.
Many of these bettors don’t come from large states. Residents in the following states will be able to place legal March Madness bets at home for the first time:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Altogether, 30 states plus Washington DC are offering legal sports betting during March Madness. There will be three more states legalizing sports betting after the NCAA basketball tournament.
According to the AGA’s study, Gonzaga (17%) is the most popular college to win the tournament. Duke (12%) and Kentucky (11%) are the second and third most popular teams, respectively.