March Madness wagers to hit 68M, AGA projects

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 13, 2023

March Madness wagers to hit 68M, AGA projects

Matthew Fazelpoor//March 13, 2023

As March Madness gets into full swing, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is out with research showing that 68 million American adults (26%) plan to wager more than $15 billion on the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament this year.

Selection Sunday yielded some disappointment for New Jersey as Rutgers University narrowly missed the field. But, Fairleigh Dickson University (FDU) and Princeton University will represent the Garden State in the annual tournament.

Of course, in-state bettors will not be able to wager on games involving those schools because of provisions in the state’s sports betting law that prohibits wagering on games involving New Jersey colleges and universities. Last year, while bettors nationwide rode the Saint Peter’s Peacocks Cinderella run, New Jersey players were unable to get in on the action—at least legally.

The AGA survey found that 31 million American adults plan to place a traditional sports wager online, at a retail sportsbook, or with a bookie, while 21.5 million plan to bet casually with friends and 56.3 million plan to participate in a bracket contest.

“March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports – and America’s most wagered-on competition,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Critically, the expansion of regulated sports betting over the past five years has brought safeguards to more than half of American adults who can now bet legally in their home market.”

Notably, the AGA finds that 18 million more American adults plan to wager on March Madness than last month’s Super Bowl—but, will wager half a billion dollars less on the tournament than they did for the football championship.

More than half of American adults, 146 million (57%), currently live in a live, legal sports betting market across 33 states and Washington, D.C., including Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio and Maryland, which commenced wagering since last year’s tournament. Three additional legal markets await launch.

Three-fourths of online bettors say this will be their first-time betting on March Madness online.

With all of this, the AGA says, comes the need to almost promote responsible gaming. AGA is emphasizing its Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly campaign, which provides tools and resources to help play safe and responsibly.

“With the excitement around March Madness, the AGA and our members want to remind anyone getting in on the action to have a game plan to bet responsibly,” Miller added. “That means setting a budget, knowing the odds, keeping it social, and always playing legally.