The number of Americans are expected to wager on this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is expected to be five times higher in 2023 compared to last year, according to data from the American Gaming Association.
According to a survey released this weekend, over $15 billion is expected to be bet on March Madness in 2023, which is up from $3.1 billion a year ago.
One major factor is the expansion of legalized sports betting. The American Gaming Association noted that sports betting has become legalized in Ohio, Kansas and Massachusetts in the last year.
March Madness is also expected to general more gambling activity than the Super Bowl.
“March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports — and America’s most wagered-on competition,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “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.”
The AGA estimates that 68 million Americans will place a bet on the basketball tournament.
Bracket contests remain the most popular way to gamble on March Madness, drawing 56.3 million participants.
While bettors could make significant sums betting on March Madness, athletes aren’t paid by teams.
The NCAA has been educating athletes on laws prohibiting them from participating in sports betting.
"What we are really trying to educate with our student-athletes is that there are a lot of things that are permissible for the general public that just aren't for you, and it's the same for the coaches and the administrators," Trever Wright, associate director of athletics for Cincinnati, said in an NCAA press release. "We really try to focus on that aspect while really tying in our psychologists and mental health because one unique aspect of this is that when it (sports wagering) used to be illegal, they (student-athletes) didn't really have any students or peers saying, 'Hey, you cost me $200.' Now with it being legal in the state of Ohio, you could face that within your own class, let alone social media."
Both the NCAA and American Gaming Association have said they are encouraging gamblers to be responsible.
“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,” Miller said.