Approximately $8.5bn is to be wagered on this year’s March Madness, with 1-in-5 adults across the US set to be placed a bet during the competition, reports the American Gaming Association as it releases its new survey today.

Since the US Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018, sports betting legalisation is currently being considered in 23 states across the country.

March Madness is a 68-team single-elimination college basketball tournament which hosts 67 games over a period of 19 days, and got underway with ‘Selection Sunday’ this past weekend.

The AGA has stressed that amongst its key findings are that 47 million American adults are to wager $8.5bn on March Madness, with $4.6bn set to be wagered on a collective 149m brackets by more than 40m people.

Furthermore, almost 18m people will wager $3.9bn at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie or with a friend, which when broken down further will see 4.1m place a bet at a casino sportsbook or using a legal app, 2.4m bet illegally with a bookie and 5.2m bet online, likely at illegal offshore sites.

Amongst the favourites to come out on top in this year’s tournament are Duke, with 29 per cent of bettors favouring the university, ahead of Gonzaga (nine per cent), Carolina (eight per cent), Kentucky (seven per cent), Virginia (five per cent) and Michigan (five per cent).

Bill Miller, AGA’s president and chief executive officer, explained: “During this year’s tournament – the first in post-PASPA America – sports fans are expected to bet 40 per cent more than they did on this year’s Super Bowl.

“Unlike any other sporting event in the country, March Madness attracts millions who fill out brackets, make casual bets with friends or wager at a legal sportsbook, which Americans can now do more than ever before.”

Since the fall of PASPA in excess of $5.9bn has been wagered across the now eight states offering legal, regulated sports betting, enabling consumer protections and generating valuable tax revenue for state, local and tribal governments across the country.

“These results indicate there’s still work to do to eradicate the vast illegal sports betting market in this country, and we’re committed to ensuring sound policies are in place to protect consumers, like the 47 million Americans who will bet on March Madness,” added Miller.