March Madness trails only the Super Bowl when it comes to sports betting
The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament could draw $400 million in legal wagers at online and retail sportsbooks across the country — a total that includes $300 million in Nevada and $75 million in New Jersey, according to the analysts for TheLines.com.
The NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed on Sunday, officially tipping off one of the largest sports betting holidays in the United States. In seven of the eight legal sports betting jurisdictions in the U.S., this will mark the first time bettors will get a chance to make a legal March Madness bet, and the fervor should be significant.
"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," said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for TheLines.com.
"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."
In 2018 and as the country's only legal sports betting jurisdiction, Nevada accepted a record $459 million in bets in March 2018, and about $300 million of that came on NCAA Tournament wagers. By comparison, the Super Bowl in 2018 generated a record $158.6 million in bets.
Nevada should see similar interest this year. Using the Super Bowl as a guide, New Jersey could draw about 25 percent of Nevada's March Madness handle. Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia should generate around $25 million in NCAA Tournament bets.