Alabama’s absent sports betting market is missing out on an especially important time of year, one that would be highly profitable if it were legal—that is, of course, March Madness.
The annual 68-team tournament pits the best teams in college basketball against one another, and one of the headlining acts is the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Playing behind the support of a Birmingham, Alabama crowd, the Tide raced past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the opening round and then handled the Maryland Terrapins to book a spot in the Sweet 16. They will play San Diego State University in Louisville, Kentucky Friday evening.
History has shown that sports bettors are more inclined to place wagers when they are supporting a local team. In a state like Alabama, where there are no mainstream professional sports teams, March Madness and the college football season are two of the most important times on the calendar.
There is also a precedent for states moving to legalize sports betting after local teams achieve great success. For example, after Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals was held in Inglewood, California, in February 2022, California was able to advance Propositions 26 and 27, two sports betting bills, to the November ballot, though they ultimately failed.
Ohio, however, was able to use the Bengals’ deep run through the playoffs in 2022 and their solid performances in the following season to make sure it had a sports betting market in place before the 2023 playoffs, in which Cinci advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
More will be unveiled once Alabama lawmakers return on Tuesday.