• The American Gaming Association projects that a record 47.5 million Americans will bet on March Madness this year.
  • More than 36.7 million will fill out a bracket wager.
  • 8.3 million will wager at a retail sportsbook.

INDIANAPOLIS – The March Madness Tournament is incoming and this could be the most wagered-on tournament in history.

There was no tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A byproduct of COVID-19, however, is that many states changed their tune on launching legal sports betting, leading to new markets in 2020.

With the addition of new sports betting markets launching in the states, making sports betting more accessible than ever, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is projecting all-time highs in March Madness betting.

Examining the AGA’s projections, we can see that potentially 47.4 million sports betting fans in America will place action on the big tournament. This increase in betting activity is sparked by the increase in states with legal sports betting.

The AGA’s data also shows that 8.3 million sports betting fans will wager on at retail sportsbooks, a 79% increase from 2019. This can also be attributed to the many new markets that have launched.

Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia all launched their sports betting markets in 2020, making this the first time they will be hosting March Madness odds. This is one of the ways this year’s tournament will be different than past years.

Local residents in these new markets are expected to embrace betting and place a lot of wagers at their regulated sportsbooks.

“The sports betting landscape has changed dramatically since 2019 – and as a result, tournament betting has transformed,” said Bill Miller, AGA President, and CEO. “As consumers formerly limited to bracket contests now enjoy access to legal sportsbook options, they also plan to place traditional sports bets as March Madness returns.”

What is interesting about the report from the AGA is that while wagers are expected to increase, bracket betting is expected to see a slight decrease.

The AGA projects 36.7 million sports betting fans will fill out brackets, which is down 8% from 2019, while 30.6 million will place traditional wagers, up 17.8 million.

The increase in traditional wagers could easily be attributed to the launch of new markets, but the bracket decrease could be caused by the same reason.

In the past, many states only allowed bracket contests. However, with states now offering legal sports betting in full capacity, more betting fans will opt to wager traditionally then place action on a bracket.

This year’s March Madness Tournament is expected to see a large increase in college basketball betting activity this year. It is also expected to set a new trend for the industry as a whole.

With the constant launching of new legal sports betting markets, the overall betting activity on the tournament will continue to increase every year.