The NCAA Tournament is here, and legal sports betting operators are ready to roll.
The tournament’s popularity used to go unnoticed by most states (except Nevada) around the country, but things have since changed on a dime.
“Back in the early 2000s, gaming reports had illegal wagers accounting for 98.5 percent and Nevada for only 1.5 percent of the wagers. Times have changed,” said Jay Kornegay, EVP of Superbook Sports Operations at the Westgate Resort & Casino.
Sports betting is now being legalized at a consistent pace and states don’t want to be left out of a powerful revenue stream. Currently, 33 U.S. states and Ontario have taken the plunge and have combined to earn $1.5 billion in 2022 from online betting sites and retail shops.
“It has been a transformation these past few years,” said Chuck Todd, Meet the Press. During his NBC broadcast, Todd noted that of the $10 billion estimated for the tournament, $6 billion will be made with a legal sportsbook.
Meanwhile, the American Gaming Association expects $15.5 billion in March Madness wagers as sportsbooks and state coffers get ready to benefit. For most states, monthly revenue reports hit their peak in early spring, much of it having to do with the NCAA tournament when everyone’s home team pride comes to light.
Even if your home state legalized betting, that doesn't necessarily mean you can wager on all March Madness markets.
The most common restriction includes Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia all blocking bets on college basketball props.
Some states even prevent bettors from wagering on their local teams, with Virginia, Delaware, Iowa, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin restricting such bets.