The AGA Estimates $15.5 Billion Will be Wagered During March Madness

Football news


  • The AGA estimated $16 billion in wagers on Super Bowl LVII
  • Four states have legalized or expanded sports betting since March Madness 2022
  • Houston and Alabama are favored to win this year’s national title

The American Gaming Association (AGA) expects that 68 million Americans will wager a combined $15.5 billion on March Madness during March and April.

Those estimates are nearly equivalent to the expected $16 billion in bets that the AGA estimated would be risked during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles—but surprisingly, an extra 18 million more Americans are expected to bet on the NCAA Tournament than the Super Bowl

All estimates were drawn from a 2,200-person sample gathered by Morning Consult on behalf of the AGA.

Circling the calendar

March Madness is a favorite time of the year for sports fans and sports bettors.

From the fan perspective, 68 teams compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine which college basketball team is the best in the land. The tournament has birthed numerous Cinderella stories and is known for nonstop action with games coming every few minutes in the early stages of the bracket.

 From the betting perspective, there are a plethora of opportunities to win some cash. Games come with traditional betting markets such as spread, moneylines, and totals, along with props, parlays, and more.

“March Madness is one of the best traditions in American sports—and America’s most wagered-on competition,” said Brad Miller, the AGA’s CEO and president. “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.”

Arguably the most alluring market is futures, where bettors get to pick which team will win it all. These odds are lengthened because of how hard it is to actually win a national title and give bettors something to hold on to as they monitor their brackets. Fans can fill out brackets at major sports websites or on dedicated apps, such as ESPN’s Bracket Challenge, which allows users to compete in groups and see how their bracket compares to everyone else’s.

The popularity of bracket-filling is not lost on the AGA either. According to the survey, an estimated 56.3 million people plan to participate in a bracket contest while 31 million Americans will bet online with a sportsbook and another 21.5 million will exchange wagers casually with friends.

Sports betting meets March Madness… again

One of the biggest reasons for the favorable projections, as alluded to by Miller, is the expansion of sports betting in America. At the time March Madness tips off, 36 states plus Washington D.C. will have legal sports betting in some form, and 33 will have operational markets. Massachusetts is the latest state to join the fold having launched its retail market on January 31 and online arm on March 10.

Kansas, Ohio, and Maryland have also either legalized or expanded their sports betting markets since the 2022 tournament saw the Kansas Jayhawks defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels by three points in the national title game.

Nevada, a longtime hub for gambling in America, will host a regional part of March Madness for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1939. Teams will compete in the West Regional inside T-Mobile Arena, home of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, on March 23 and 25.

The AGA is excited by the increased opportunities for bettors around the country but still wants them to practice safe gambling habits during and beyond the tournament.

“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,” said Miller. “That means setting a budget, knowing the odds, keeping it social, and always playing legally.”

Most sportsbooks have the Houston Cougars as the favorite to take home the first title in program history this year. Alabama is a clear number two in odds before the lines get blurred between the Kansas Jayhawks, Purdue Boilermakers, and UCLA Bruins.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.