AGA expects $15.5bn in NCAA March Madness wagers

March Madness basketball
Image: Al Sermeno Photography/Shutterstock

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is expecting $15.5bn to be wagered by 68 million American adults on this year’s NCAA March Madness men’s Division I basketball tournament.

According to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the AGA between March 1-3 sampling 2,200 adults, 31 million Americans plan to place a wager online, at retail sportsbooks or with a bookie.

Elsewhere, 21.5 million Americans plan to bet casually with friends, while 56.3 million plan to participate in a bracket contest.

However, despite 18 million more Americans planning on placing a March Madness bet compared to February’s Super Bowl, $500m less is expected to be wagered on the tournament compared to the Big Game.

Bill Miller, CEO and President of the AGA, commented: “March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports—and America’s most wagered-on competition. 

“Critically, the expansion of regulated sports betting over the past five years has brought safeguards to more than half of American adults who can now bet legally in their home market.”

Kentucky is the favourite among bettors to win the entire tournament at 9 per cent, followed by Texas A&M (8 per cent), and Gonzaga, UCLA and Alabama (6 per cent).

Las Vegas will also be a regional host location for March Madness for the first time, as the tournament plays 67 games over a three-week period.

AGA has attributed the growth of March Madness betting to bracket contests resurging and the expansion of legal online betting, with many bettors wagering on the tournament online for the first time.

Kansas, Massachusetts and Ohio have all launched retail and mobile sports betting markets since the 2022 March Madness tournament, while Maryland has gone live with mobile wagering.

Miller added: “With the excitement around March Madness, the AGA and our members want to remind anyone getting in on the action to have a game plan to bet responsibly. That means setting a budget, knowing the odds, keeping it social, and always playing legally.”