Sportsbooks Anticipate Billions of Wagered Dollars During March Madness

Center Oumar Ballo #11 of the Arizona Wildcats. Rebecca Noble/Getty Images/AFP.

March Madness is a three-week college basketball tournament that allows the future of the NBA to mold their path towards greatness. In March, the single-elimination, seven-round battle between the country’s most notable college teams is also one of the most heavily bet-on sports. Still, the expected revenue figures for 2022 could break current records.

The official first round of the tournament tips off on Thursday, and it will be the first edition of March Madness, where mobile sports wagering has been legal in New York State – as well as numerous other locations.

March Madness 2022 Could Produce Over $3 Billion in Sports Bets

On a national scale, the AGA (American Gaming Association) reported that 45 million Americans are gearing up to place bets on this season’s NCAA Men’s Division 1 tournament. The total money wagered should land around the $3.1 billion mark. Most of the money wagered during March Madness will be through the utilization of mobile betting apps and websites, but not the brackets.

The AGA also reported that 76% of the bets placed would be online or a physical sportsbook, a 55% incline from last year. These projections show that bettors going through brackets have declined to a near 70% compared to 2021.

The senior director of research for the AGA, David Forman, understands the NCAA bracket has often been a fundamental part of the basketball tournament. Still, he has also witnessed a dramatic dip in popularity over recent years.

The NCAA tournament is expected to receive more legal bets than the Super Bowl – America’s most popular single sporting event. Gamblers placed $1 billion worth of legal bets on the 2022 Super Bowl, but March Madness could triple those numbers.

“It’s the biggest betting event of the year,” Foreman said. “The Super Bowl is a one-day, single event; March Madness is 67 games over a couple of weeks.”

However, cracks can be found on the surface. With a 70% decline in money wagered through brackets, the overall handle of March Madness won’t compete with 2021s $4.9 billion in wagers. The 2021 March Madness tournament was the competition’s resurrection since the 2019 pandemic halted professional sports. Therefore, an outpour of wagers took place during March Madness 2021.

“Brackets are such a big part of the March Madness betting culture,” Foreman continued. “This is what drives a lot of the decline in the numbers you see this year.”

March Madness 2022: Legal Sports Betting in the United States

Legal sportsbooks should receive a growth on their handles due to the shift in bettors leaving illegal sportsbooks behind. “There’s nothing more thrilling in sports than the magic of March Madness,” said Bill Miller, the president of the AGA. “There’s no doubt this year will generate the highest legal handle in March Madness history.”

Superbook in Westgate Las Vegas could receive a significant rise between past years and this year’s handle. Superbook director, John Murray, realizes the potential of mobile wagering and how it’s now accountable for 70% of business.

“No matter where you go in Las Vegas for March Madness, there’s a long line to make a bet,” Murray commented. “People who might have been shut out from placing a bet on Thursday because they couldn’t get to the window in time can sit in their chair and make their bet on their phone. The number one reason mobile is so good for business is that it allows you to process more bets.”