March Madness expected to generate $8.5 billion in bets: report

March Madness expected to generate $8.5 billion in bets: report
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Americans are expected to bet $8.5 billion on this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, according to a report released Monday by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Based on the survey from the casino industry group, 47 million American adults, or one out of five, will wager on March Madness, which begins Tuesday and ends April 8.

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The favorite among the field is Duke University, with 29 percent of the 11,002 adults surveyed between March 1-7 saying they think the school comes out on top. No other team received 10 percent of the vote.

The predicted number comes in ahead of the Super Bowl, on which AGA predicted Americans would wager $6 billion. 

This is the first NCAA tournament since the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), that banned sports betting in most states.

“During this year’s tournament — the first in post-PASPA America — sports fans are expected to bet 40% more than they did on this year’s Super Bowl,” Bill Miller, AGA’s president and CEO, said.

“Unlike any other sporting event in the country, March Madness attracts millions who fill out brackets, make casual bets with friends or wager at a legal sportsbook, which Americans can now do more than ever before.”

Eight states have legalized sports betting since the high court's decision in the summer of 2018. Another 23 are currently considering legislation to regulate and tax sports betting.

More than $5.9 billion has been wagered so far in the states where sports betting has been legalized, according to the AGA.

AGA also found that 2.4 million Americans will place illegal bets on the tournament.

“These results indicate there’s still work to do to eradicate the vast illegal sports betting market in this country, and we’re committed to ensuring sound policies are in place to protect consumers, like the 47 million Americans who will bet on March Madness,” Miller added.

The survey was conducted for AGA by Morning Consult in March and had a margin of error of 1 percentage point.