Tens of millions of Americans will wager on March Madness this year, one of the largest betting events outside of the Super Bowl. While most will be able to do so as a form of entertainment, it may move beyond that point for others. It’s important to practice March Madness responsible gambling.
Below are some helpful resources to ensure you are gambling in a responsible manner, with tools to help you if you feel like things begin to slip out of control.
What Is Problem Gambling?
Many people are able to view sports betting for what it is: a form of social entertainment where you only wager with money you can afford to lose. You should view sports betting the same way as going to a show or concert.
Problem gambling includes gambling behavior that begins to compromise personal, vocational or family pursuits. This can include:
- Chasing losses
- A need to bet more money more frequently
- A feeling of irritability or restlessness when not wagering
Problem gambling goes beyond just financial struggles. A person can carry no debt from problem gambling but still be negatively affected by their gambling behavior. The issue stems from an uncontrollable obsession with gambling that begins to negatively impact the person’s life.
How Prevalent Is Problem Gambling?
Research indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do so responsibly. However, it is estimated that 2 million adults (1%) meet the criteria for a severe gambling problem.
Another 4-6 million adults potentially have mild to moderate gambling problems but do not meet all the criteria for problem gambling.
Tips For Responsible Gambling During March Madness
Many adults are eager to wager on March Madness games, especially when it comes to filling out tournament brackets. The American Gaming Association reported $10 billion was bet on the tournament in 2021.
It’s important to keep these tips in mind to ensure you have a responsible and enjoyable wagering experience.
Practice Proper Bankroll Management
First things first, set a budget for your NCAA tournament bets and stick to it.
Again, this budget should be considered entertainment/fun money that you can afford to lose.
When it comes to proper bankroll management, you don’t want to wager more than 5% of your total bankroll on a single bet, and 5% is high. You would ideally only be wagering 5% of your total bankroll on a heavily researched bet you are confident in.
A good medium ground is somewhere around 1%-2.5% of your bankroll per bet.
Don’t Chase Losses
You aren’t going to win all of your bets. In fact, winning even 60% of your bets is extremely unlikely. The break-even point for betting is just over 52% at -110.
It’s good to set a budget is so panic doesn’t set in when a bet doesn’t go your way. Evaluate the loss, see if there’s anything you can learn from it, and then move on.
Remember, gambling is entertainment. If you make money off of it, it is just an added bonus to the overall experience.
Chasing your losses is only likely to lead to more losses since you aren’t in the proper headspace to make informed decisions when in a moment of panic.
Beware Of Flashy Ad Campaigns
Online sportsbooks love to post crazy parlays on Twitter where someone turned $1 into $15,000 by combining thirteen bets on one ticket. Keep in mind that these types of wins are extremely uncommon.
Instead of chasing a big win like this, take time to research bets and pick your spots. This is much more likely to lead to a profitable betting experience than firing parlay after parlay.
March Madness Responsible Gambling Resources
If at any time you feel your gambling has slipped past fun entertainment, there are free resources out there to help.
The National Council on Problem Gambling hotline can be reached at 1-800-522-4700. This hotline helps connect people in need of problem gambling help with local resources.
You can also click here to access information about gambling disorders, including free educational materials and links to professional organizations.