Projected to surpass Super Bowl wagering

American Gaming Association forecasts $2.72 billion in wagers for NCAA basketball tournaments

Reading time 1:34 min

An estimated $2.72 billion could be wagered on the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments with American sportsbooks, as per an analysis released by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

This estimate, provided by Dave Forman, head of research at AGA, surpasses the amount believed to have been wagered on this year's Super Bowl, which totaled $1.4 billion, ESPN reported.

The AGA's analysis is based on monthly sports betting revenue reports from states, focusing solely on bets placed on the NCAA tournaments and excluding conference tournaments.

Previous years saw the AGA conducting online surveys to gauge the amount wagered on the tournament. The survey from last year suggested a potential $15.5 billion in bets on the NCAA tournament. While previous estimates included bracket pools and wagers with unlicensed sportsbooks, this year's analysis only considers bets placed with legal U.S. sportsbooks.

"March Madness is the biggest and most mainstream betting event of the year, especially with the brackets. But with legal sports betting having been around now for five years and available in almost 40 states, we wanted to turn our focus to the legal market," Forman was quoted as saying in the report.

Although no state provides separate figures for men's and women's games, sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Tipico have reported significant year-over-year growth in betting handles for women's games.

Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens remarked on the remarkable betting activity during the first week of the men's NCAA tournament, stating that it surpassed that of the Super Bowl. Stevens noted that his sportsbook at Circa in Downtown Las Vegas was sold out for the opening days of the men's tournament.

"It's definitively the biggest week of the year, and Super Bowl is definitively the second biggest," Stevens said, as per the report.

According to a report from research firm Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, in-game wagers are expected to account for 35-40% of the total amount bet on the men's NCAA tournament, with same-game parlays generating 5% of the handle. However, recent bans on prop bets involving NCAA players in Ohio and Maryland could potentially reduce sportsbook revenues by 5-10% in those states.

Defending champion UConn holds the betting favorite status to win the men's tournament with +450 odds at ESPN BET, while South Carolina (-130) is favored to win the women's tournament, the report said.

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