Non-bracket channels' growth

March Madness expected to see $3.1B in bets from 45M Americans, AGA reports

Caesars Superdome in New Orleans will host March Madness' Final Four this year.
Reading time 2:16 min

According to the results of a new survey carried out by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and released Sunday, more than 17% of American adults plan to wager $3.1 billion on this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, or March Madness.

While 45 million people in the US have responded they plan to wager on the event, 20.9 million expect to bet on the tournament outside of bracket contests, that is, at a retail sportsbook, online, with a bookie or casually with friends. 36.5 million Americans will wager via a bracket contest or similar pool. 

This year, the trend points to placing a greater share of bets through non-bracket channels. Of their total betting budget on this year’s tournament, Americans expect to place 76% of their wagers outside of brackets, up from 55% last year. 

Since 2021, 29 million more American adults can legally wager in their home state with Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming launching new legal sports betting markets. 30 states and Washington D.C. currently offer live legal sports betting, and other 11 states currently have active or pre-filed legislation to legalize it. 

AGA President and CEO, Bill Miller, spoke about the results shown in the association’s latest survey and said: “Americans continue to make it clear: they want to wager with the protections of the legal, regulated market. There’s no doubt this year will generate the highest legal handle in March Madness history”. 

Bettors name Gonzaga (17%) as their favorite to win the tournament, followed by Duke (12%) and Kentucky (11%).

The survey was conducted online between February 26-27, among a national sample of 2,210 adults. Bettors include those who expect to place a bet online, with a bookie, with a casino sportsbook, casually with family or friends or as a part of a bracket contest.

“There’s nothing more thrilling in sports than the magic of March Madness. If you’re getting in on the action, have your game plan to bet responsibly. That means setting a budget, keeping it fun, learning the odds and playing legally”, Miller added. 

The results come after AGA reported via its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker that sports betting and iGaming verticals continued to expand in January, with double- and triple-digit growth compared to 2021 and 2020, respectively. Taken together, revenue from iGaming and sports betting accounted for 21.1% of total commercial gaming revenue in January.

A busy sports calendar, the first full month of retail wagering in Maryland, and the start of mobile betting in Louisiana and New York generated a new record in legal sports betting activity. Nationwide, sports betting handle reached $8.41 billion (excl. figures from AZ and IL that had not been reported at the time of publication), nearly doubling (91.8%) year-over-year and up 11.3% from the previous record set in October 2021.

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