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AGA Report: 68 Million Americans to Wager $15.5B on March MadnessBy Jeff Osienya Mar 14, 2023 IndustryA new report by the AGA indicates that the NCAA March Madness will see its highest volume of activity in both participants and handle. 68 million Americans are expected to spend $15 billion on bets in the 3-week tournament.
With the nation’s largest sporting event, the Super Bowl, out of the way, all eyes of the wagering world swiftly moved to arguably the second largest sporting event in the US, the March Madness. The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently conducted a survey that revealed some interesting numbers about the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament set to occur this week. From the report, over a quarter of American adults (aged 21 and above), which accounts for 68 million citizens, plan to wager a whopping $15.5 billion on this year’s edition of the event.
From a sample size of 2,200 adults, the survey revealed that 31 million Americans intend to bet on the esteemed competition online, at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, or with a bookie. Meanwhile, 21.5 million Americans disclosed that they would wager on the tournament with friends, whereas 56.3 million plan to participate in a bracket contest.
Additionally, based on AGA’s projection, the number of people who will wager on March Madness will surpass the volume of Super Bowl bettors by 18 million. That said, the forecasts indicate that the value of wagers placed over the next three weeks of the 68 collegiate teams’ basketball tournament will be half a billion dollars less than the Superbowl. Speaking on the survey, AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said:Quote
“March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports and America’s most wagered on competition. 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.”
Growth of March Madness Betting Numbers Buoyed by Bracket Contests
The March Madness tournament will kick off in earnest with the first four on March 14th and then switch to a higher gear on March 16th with a 64-team playoff. As such, bracket mania will sweep through the nation over the next two days as Americans seek their favorite sportsbooks to back their favorite teams.
BetMGM, for instance, is reviving its famous $10 million free-to-play bracket challenge. Users of this platform will be able to compete for the eye-catching prize for their correct predictions of March Madness games. The bracket is enlisted as free-to-play, and players will slowly accumulate points as the tournament drags on. The player with the most points by the end of the contest will bag a $100,000 guaranteed prize. Speaking on the $10 million free-to-play bracket challenge, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said,Quote
“BetMGM has a lot to offer sports fans during this year’s most exciting month of basketball. We’ve built phenomenal destination sportsbooks, and now, with our mobile app being available in more markets than ever, we look forward to matching the excitement of the season with a major bracket contest.”
As for DraftKings, its Zero Right Bracket Challenge allows players to bust their bracket for a chance at a $100,000 top prize. Interestingly, in this year’s edition of March Madness, DraftKings is taking a different approach, where the aim for players should be to get all picks wrong. Getting a selection right earns you a point against yourself, and the player with the lowest point total will bring home the apex prize of $100,000.
Like its counterparts, Bet365 also features a bracket challenge with a $10 million prize pool. Players who sign up for the challenge must predict the results of each March Madness game to continue garnering points as follows:
➔ Round 1- 10 points
➔ Round 2- 20 points
➔ Round 3- 40 points
➔ Quarter Final- 80 points
➔ Semi Final- 160 Points
➔ Final- 320 points
The player with the most points by the end of the tournament will land the top prize, which stands at $100,000.
Expansion of Regulated Sports Betting Also Behind the Surged Numbers
Since the Supreme Court repealed the PASPA in 2018, more and more markets have jumped into the bandwagon of American sports-regulated wagering. To this day, 33 states and Washington, DC, have joined the fold, considerably increasing the number of people wagering on sports nationwide.
Compared to last year’s edition of March Madness, three more states (Kansa, Massachusetts, and Ohio) have launched retail sports betting. This is one of the main reasons the AGA is projecting the record-shattering numbers being reported. Many of them will be maiden bettors, who will likely experience the thrills of this tournament for the first time and will surely be back for more.
Responsible Gambling Encouraged Over the 3-Week Tournament
With all the excitement rife for the event, the AGA continues calling for responsible gaming as usual. AGA’s ‘Have a Game Plan. Bet responsibly’ campaign is active and preaching its standard safer gambling message. The campaign has enlisted the support of many industry bigwigs like the Washington Commanders, the PGA tour, Barstool Sportsbook, and BetMGM to provide tools and resources to help Americans play safely and responsibly. Commenting on the same matter, Mr. Bill Miller said:Quote
“With the excitement around March Madness, the AGA and our members want to remind anyone getting in on the action to have a gameplan and to bet responsibly. That means setting a budget, knowing the odds, keeping it social, and always playing legally.”
Kentucky the Early Favorite to Win!
As the grand stage beckons, the early predictions are out, and Kentucky is the overall favorite to win as we head into the kickoff of the March Madness showdown. Alabama, Kansas, and Purdue are also considered top contenders by different sportsbooks serving the American market.
Houston is also one to watch, with the Cougars reaching the finals in four out of their previous six tries and failing to win the tournament on each occasion. So, the big question for some this time round is; will this be the year the team will finally break free of its curse? Well, that remains to be seen, and we will, of course, have a better idea of their potential in the next two days.
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