Legal March Madness Betting

You may be wondering where you can find legal March Madness betting. The tournament is one of the most popularized sporting events in the country with an estimated $10 billion bet on the NCAA Tournament each year. This includes entertaining the idea of filling out a perfect bracket, joining an office pool, and the standard run of the mill single-game wagering options. Fans get excited in hopes of filling out the perfect bracket, which used to have a billion-dollar payout from Warren Buffet, but the odds are estimated to be 1 in over 9 quintillions.

Tournament Structure

The tournament consists of 68 teams and 67 games – all played within 19 days. There is no other sporting event that holds this much excitement in such a short period of time. College teams enter the tournament from all around the country, which increases its popularity in fans of all ages. It is estimated that double-digit millions of Americans participate in some form of March Madness betting every year; however, most are not aware of all of their options for legal sports betting, as only 3% wager with a legal and regulated sportsbook inside the country.

Is it Legal To Bet On March Madness?

There are many options when looking where to legally bet on the March Madness Tournament. Las Vegas is the popular option as this has been the focal point for sports gambling for years. However, the federal government determined that PASPA, the law which made sports betting illegal, was unconstitutional and has allowed for states to determine their own legality. Offshore operators provide any type of wager you are looking for and most even offer better odds than any US land-based sportsbook. These are legal to use for all gamblers – just be sure to stick with a licensed operator who is located offshore. Additionally, you can visit one of the other eight states that offer legal March Madness betting.

States With Legal March Madness Betting

The list is short due to there being less than a year from the appeal of PASPA to the start of the first NCAA Tournament; however, you can legally wager on college basketball in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. These states have a legal and state-regulated industry that offer March Madness betting options. It is important to understand that three of these states (New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island) have rules against wagering on collegiate basketball teams that are in their states. This means that even if a tournament game is played in a different state that if a college program from their state is playing, all bets are off. Offshore operators do not have any betting restrictions on this matter.

Are March Madness Brackets Legal?

March Madness brackets or office pools are in a gray area when it comes to legality. Most states determine social gambling to be a prohibited form of gambling; however, there have not been any arrests or convictions towards somebody running an office pool. This is generally accepted by every state as popular websites offer paid and unpaid entries into a bracket pool. This includes tournaments where prizes or no prizes are won and brackets are available for download all over the internet. Just be sure to get your picks in after Selection Sunday and before the “first four” play in games.

Legal March Madness Wager Types

Before you overwhelm yourself and worry just about brackets, you should also understand your wagering options for legal March Madness betting. The single-elimination tournament is known for the Cinderella story of a team who went further than anticipated, the top dog who gets booted too early, and the streaking team who can’t seem to lose. Furthermore, all of these can be gambled upon – it is just a matter of which style of betting you will participate in.

Betting On The Point Spread

Every game has a spread, which is the difference in points that a team is being favored by. The favorite will have a minus symbol (-) before the number, while the underdog will have a plus symbol (+). Think of this as a starting point for the favorite or a boost to the underdog. Take this example:

Duke – 3
Tennessee +3

This signals that Duke is projected to win by three points according to oddsmakers and must win by 4 to cover the spread. Additionally, Tennessee is signaled to lose by three points and must win the game or lose by 1 or 2 points only. If the game ended as a three point victory for Duke then this would be considered a “push”. In that case, all bets would be void and your wager would be returned – this is why most of the betting lines are in increments of half points (-2.5).

Taking Action On The Moneyline

If you are more confident of who will win the game rather than how much they will win by, consider betting the moneyline wager. Teams who are favorited more will have a lesser payout and similarly, teams who are heavy underdogs will have substantial payouts. In the same Duke and Tennessee scenario, the odds would be close -150 for Duke and +125 for Tennessee. The minus and plus symbol still indicate the favorite and underdog, respectively, but now indicate the ratio for being paid out. Duke’s line of -150 indicates you would need to wager $150 for every $100 you want to profit. Likewise, a bet on Tennessee’s line (+125) means you would profit $125 for every $100 wagered. It is important to understand that this is just a ratio and you can bet as little or as much as your local or offshore sportsbook will allow.

Total Points Betting Options

Many times for basketball, the spreads can be difficult to determine because of last-second points. Likewise, game-winning shots can change the result in the last second. The speed of the game is another option you have when looking to legally bet on the NCAA Tournament by betting on the total points scored. Some basketball teams like to slow the pace and play every possession to the extent of the shot clock while others like to get a shot off as quick as possible. These styles of play make it easier to win money betting and determine trends in total points scored. For example, the University of Virginia has been known for slowing the pace down and holding teams to their lowest point production. In their games, the over/under may be a lower number than you see across the betting line board but it is up to you to determine the total points scored.

NCAA Tournament Futures Bets

Sometimes picking a team to win the game or to score a certain amount of points can be difficult. However, other options are available to wager on and these are future bets. These types of bets can be placed at any point before the tournament begins and include the option like which team will win the tournament. Because these bets are made in advance and give you no ability to alter them once submitted, they are often higher payouts. A notable situation where people were happy they bet on the NCAA Tournament in advance was twice for the University of Connecticut. In both 2010-11 and 2013-14, they were overlooked and posted preseason betting lines of +4000 and +6500, respectively, to win hoist the trophy at the end of the season. Even before February 1st in the 2013-14 season, UCONN was given +10000 odds, where people who took the action cashed in a payday of 100x their initial bet. The top ten odds to win the 2019 Men’s NCAA Tournament are:

Duke: +170

Tennessee: +750

Virginia: +800

Kentucky: +850

Michigan: +850

Gonzaga: +900

Michigan State: +1100

Kansas: +100

Nevada: +2000

North Carolina: +2400

Where To Gamble On March Madness

New Jersey
There are 12 sportsbooks in New Jersey with the majority of them being focused around Atlantic City. Whether you are on the boardwalk or further from the water, there are many betting options provided for the tournament. Away from AC is Monmouth Park which was the first New Jersey sportsbook to open. There is also the ability to enter into any of the 11 online sportsbooks that are offered by the New Jersey casinos, the most popular being the DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbooks, who both offer sign-up bonuses. These have some restrictions, as you must be located within New Jersey state lines for you to place a wager. Also, per state law, anytime a New Jersey team plays a game, there will be no betting lines offered on that game.

Nevada
Considered the Mecca of gambling in the country, there are dozens upon dozens of options for betting on March Madness here. Check out the Westgate which offers some of the best betting lines out there and even has a separate window just for high rollers. There are many other options such as the Station Casinos who are hosts to seven different sportsbooks. Nearly all of the operators in Nevada have an online platform but will require you to be within state lines to place a bet. Any odds you are looking for can be found here as they will allow you to take action on nearly any aspect of the game and provide some of the best sportsbook lounges in the world.

Mississippi
With the most sportsbook in the state behind New Jersey and Nevada, Mississippi boasts gambling all throughout their state. Whether you are on the Gulf near Biloxi, along the Mississippi River near Tunica or in the middle of the state near Pear River, there is always a place looking to take your action. Playing the odds at these casinos allow for a wonderful experience as they all have sportsbook lounges that you can enjoy watching the tournament games as well as placing bets. The state does allow for mobile betting but you are required to be on the casino grounds when placing your bet. The Beau Rivage and Gold Strike were the first two open sportsbooks in the state but Mississippi has nearly two dozen sportsbooks to choose from.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has over a dozen options when it comes to playing the odds on March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is designed to be thrilling and keeping you entertained throughout and the sportsbooks in PA will do just this as well. There has been a discussion about opening a mobile platform before the NCAA Tournament but it seems unlikely this will be in operation in time. Check out the Hollywood Casino or Parx Casino who seem to be leading the pack in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is becoming a haven for sportsbooks but look into Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh as well.

Delaware
You may not know this but Delaware has had legal sports betting for longer than the majority of states in the country. They used to offer a parlay wagering style that never took off but their regulations stayed put in the state lawbook. March Madness betting in Delaware is available in three different locations: Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway, or Delaware Park. College restrictions apply in this state as well so any Delaware team that makes the tournament will not be on an odds board in the three sportsbooks. There is no mobile platform operated by the state so anyone who lives south of Harrington and Milford would need to take the trip up to Kent County. Meanwhile, those in the Wilmington area have the option of staying in Delaware to bet on the tournament or taking the trip east into Atlantic City for the ability to enjoy a sportsbook lounge.

Rhode Island
The options for Rhode Island aren’t as numerous as the other states; however, betting on March Madness in Rhode Island is just as fun and legal. The Twin River Casinos are the only two sportsbooks that are in operating in the state. One is in Lincoln while the other is located in Tiverton. Gamblers who are under 21 are given a luxury here as the Rhode Island betting age is only set at 18. Be aware that they have passed similar rules to New Jersey, where you can not bet on a local college team, even if the game is played outside of the state. No mobile betting options exist but any distance to one of these casinos is never far when you live in Rhode Island.

West Virginia
One of the most laid back states when it comes to legal sports betting is West Virginia. There are no restrictions on college sports betting and they even offer a mobile betting platform. You must be within state lines to submit any action; moreover, you can visit any of the racetracks or casinos that offer sports betting on the NCAA Tournament. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town is likely the most popular book in town but FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier has been making headlines. FanDuel accepts many deposit and withdrawal methods and even has betting lines on next years tournament already. Like we said, there is no shortage when it comes to betting options in West Virginia.

New Mexico
New Mexico is an interesting situation because they have not technically legalized sports betting in the state, but one casino still offers it. The Santa Ana Star, located just outside of Albuquerque, believed they had the right to offer this gaming style according to their compact with the state – even better, the state never fought back. This is the only casino that offers bets on March Madness but thankfully is centrally located in New Mexico. The sportsbook lounge in Santa Ana Star will provide a comfortable atmosphere for watching the games as well as answer any questions you may have about the venue or sports betting in general.

Legal March Madness Betting FAQs

Do Offshore Sportsbook Offer Any Bonuses?

Yes. Every site has its own bonuses and promotions for new and returning members. Most offer a welcoming bonus where they will match anywhere from 50-100% of your first deposit while others have reward programs where you can move the betting lines or have every deposit matched. Spend some time reviewing each licensed offshore sportsbook’s offers as one of them is bound to stand out as the best for your circumstances.

Are There Mobile Options For Betting On The Tournament?

Offshore sportsbooks provide betting lines on the tournament and offer mobile betting that is accessible from anywhere. States like Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia also have state-run platforms that will allow you to play the odds; however, they require that you are located within state lines to place these bets. Additionally, Mississippi has limits on how far you can be from the physical sportsbook location and most are so strict that they won’t even let you wager from the parking lot. Therefore, offshore sportsbooks provide the most options for mobile betting as there are no restrictions for legal March Madness betting.

What Is Live In-Play Betting?

Live in-play betting was considered for extreme gamblers but now is much more commonplace in the legal sports betting world we live in today. This style of betting allows you to play the odds after the game has started. Betting lines and odds changes drastically so you must be quick with your choices but this allows you to stay even more focused on a game regardless of the outcome.