American Gaming Association Projects 17% of American Adults Will Bet on March Madness

The American Gaming Association (AGA) projects more than 17% of American adults will bet at least $3.1 billion on this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

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

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According to the survey from the AGA, 45 million American adults plan to participate in college basketball betting on the NCAA Tournament.

Around 20.9 million Americans are expected to wager on the tournament outside of the traditional bracket contests, such as at a retail sportsbook, online with a bookie or casually with friends, while 36.5 million Americans will bet through a bracket contest or a similar pool.

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This will be the first tournament where Americans are planning to place a greater share of their bets through non-bracket channels. Americans expect to place 76% of their wagers outside of brackets, an increase of 55% last year.

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The statistic isn’t overly surprising when you consider more states have legalized sports betting, giving more Americans access to non-bracket wagering.

“There’s nothing more thrilling in sports than the magic of March Madness,” Miller said. “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.

Bettors like Gonzaga to cut down the nets and claim the title this year, with 17% listing the Bulldogs as their favorite, followed by Duke (12%) and Kentucky (11%). Gonzaga as the favorite aligns with what the sportsbooks have. The WCC champions are favored across every sportsbook, including +300 at FanDuel.

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Arizona has the second-best odds at +600, while Kentucky (+850), Kansas (+1000), Baylor (+1200) round out the top five. Duke (+1700), the people’s second-favorite, is behind Auburn (+1600) who has the sixth-best odds.

U.S. Market Continues to Grow

Since Baylor won the national title last year, 29 more million American adults have access to legal sports betting in their home state compared to 2021.

Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming going live with their own sports wagering markets.

Currently, 30 states and Washington D.C. offer live and legal sports betting with regulated markets. Eleven states have active or pre-filed legislation to legalize sports betting.

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Survey Conducted Nationwide

Morning Consult did the online survey for AGA between Feb. 26-27 with a sample of 2,210 adults across the country.

The data were weighted to an approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. The margin of error is +/-2% and greater among subgroups. Bettors include those who plan to place a bet online, with a casino sportsbook, a bookie, or casually with family or friends as part of a bracket contest.

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