- March Madness betting got off to a hot start at DE sportsbooks, turning a handle of over $2 million.
- In America, March Madness is the second most popular sports wagering event of the year.
DOVER, Del. – This past week marks Delaware’s first foray into legal March Madness betting, and action has been fierce, to say the least. During the first two rounds of the annual NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Delaware sportsbooks turned a handle of roughly $2.7 million, with $2.1 million of that (or 78 percent) being wagered on the tourney itself.
Given that Delaware sports wagering is available only at the state’s three racetracks (Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway), that’s especially impressive. The future is even brighter, though.
Once the Delaware Lottery – which oversees the sports betting product in the First State – opens up its own Internet-based sports wagering portal, participation should skyrocket.
For now, this marks the best week for Delaware sportsbooks since the Super Bowl. For comparison’s sake, the NFL’s crown jewel is still head and shoulders above March Madness in terms of popularity. Delaware’s three sportsbooks processed $2.2 million on the Super Bowl alone, with weekly NFL playoff betting averaging $3-4 million.
Needless to say, the NFL still reigns supreme when it comes to sports betting, and that’s not going to change anytime soon in Delaware – or anywhere else.
Even More Money In Store For The Sweet Sixteen
With 68 teams in the March Madness field at the outset, it seems that the sheer volume of first-round games (whether or not you include First Four play-ins) would equate to more wagering.
While the field is halved after each round, though, that’s typically not the case. And this year, there is another factor to consider – a true aberration in the annals of collegiate men’s basketball.
For the first time ever, all 16 teams who were favored in the second round advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. What this means for Delaware sports betting is simple: more betting interest than ever.
With all 16 powerhouse teams making the third round of the tournament, there is sure to be heightened interest – and more intricate lines and props – on these eight upcoming contests.
More perceived parity typically precedes a larger total betting handle, and it will be interesting to see exactly how much money Delaware bettors spend on the games scheduled for this week.
The American Gaming Association predicts that American sports bettors will wager in excess of $10 billion on Legal March Madness betting in total, though some 95 percent of that is estimated to go through underground and offshore bookmakers.
What’s The Next Big Thing For Delaware Sportsbooks?
After March Madness, you can expect a comparative lull in sports betting across the board. This will pick up for the NBA Playoffs, which are scheduled to start on April 13.
While popular, the NBA Playoffs turn a smaller handle on a per-game basis than does March Madness, making it third in terms of event popularity in the US.
Neither the start of the Major League Baseball season or the end of the National Hockey League season (i.e. the Stanley Cup Playoffs) generates much betting interest, though you can expect those markets’ wagers to be consistent and steady.
And sometimes, consistent and steady is the best way to win.
Andy has been writing professionally for nearly two decades, with the last three years being dedicated to his primary passions: sports wagering news and gambling industry analyses. A walk-on punter, Andy has a particular interest in professional football, baseball, and horse racing betting. Come early May, you can always catch Andy – clad in all white, mint julep in hand – on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs. In his dreams.