Billions Will Be Wagered On March Madness This Year — But How Much Legally?

Written By Marc Meltzer on March 19, 2019

Not burying the headline on this one as the numbers are eye-popping.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), $8.5 billion will be wagered on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year in the U.S. An estimated 47 million Americans will place those bets.

The AGA survey, conducted by Morning Consult, breaks down the numbers further:

  • There will be 149 million March Madness brackets filled out this year
  • A total of $4.6 billion will be wagered on those brackets by 40 million people
  • Approximately 18 million people will wager $3.9 billion at a sportsbook, online, with a bookie or with a friend

In total, 1-in-5 adult Americans will bet in some form during March Madness.

How much in legal wagers?

Here at, our analysts estimate a total of $400 million legal bets will be placed in the US, both online and at brick-and-mortar casinos. That total includes $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey.

According to lead analyst Dustin Gouker:

“In Nevada, the NCAA Tournament trails only the Super Bowl in popularity for sports bettors and actually generates more bets because of the number of games. New Jersey, which is the second-largest legal sports betting market, is not as event-driven as the Silver State. But the overall handle should propel the state into a record month for handle.”

This is the first March Madness where legal sports betting will be allowed outside of Nevada. Sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, Rhode Island are taking bets, which helps push betting numbers to record totals.

For more on March Madness betting estimates, check out this article at Legal Sports Report.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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