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March Madness Sports Betting Boom: How NCAA Tournament Will Partner With Sportsbooks

March Madness Sports Betting Boom: How NCAA Tournament Will Partner With Sportsbooks article feature image
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Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: The Michigan Wolverines and Florida State Seminoles.

Americans are spending more money this year betting on March Madness than they will on movie tickets.

The largest collective betting event of the year tips off Tuesday as the first 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament games begin in Dayton, Ohio. Over 45 million Americans are excepted to wager a record $3.1 billion on the event, according to the American Gaming Association.

Betting revenue from the event has risen each year since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal prohibition (PASPA) on state regulated sports betting in May 2018. Three years later: the industry has a $9.5 billion valuation, sports betting is legal in 33 states (with online sportsbooks available in 21) and it’s a central component of tournament coverage.

Nine states have legalized and launched sports betting since last year, allowing 29 million more Americans to bet on the 2022 tournament.

Betting (outside of traditional bracket contests) is projected to increase by 21%.

Sportsbooks Partner with TV, Colleges

TBS, TNT, TruTV and CBS game broadcasts will incorporate betting odds and statistics, as Turner’s partnered with DraftKings and CBS Sports with Caesars. DraftKings is also running an around-the-clock betting-centric tournament show on its YouTube channel.

The NCAA and gambling have come a long way since college sports’ chief governing body sued to stop New Jersey from legalizing sports betting in the case that overturned PASPA.

March Madness betting ads will be all over college campuses. The University Maryland, LSU, Colorado, UNLV and the University of Denver each have advertising deals with major sportsbooks.

Financial details aren’t public, but Maryland’s recently inked contract with PointsBet is rumored in the seven-figure range.

It incorporates “fan-facing in-game and campus activations” in and around Maryland’s basketball arena and football stadium, along with PointsBet advertisements on its broadcasts.

Last year postseason college football dipped its toes into the betting market as well, with the Fiesta Bowl and Caesars partnering on a multi-year deal.

The NCAA itself has a lucrative 10-year partnership with sports betting data and technology service Genius Sports. Earlier this month Genius inked its first conference exclusive deal with the Mid-American Conference.

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Betting at the Games

Indiana set a March record for wagers, with a $316.7 million handle, when it hosted the entire tournament in 2021 due to Covid-restricted travel.

With the tournament returning to its traditional multi-regional format, 2022 is the first year fans in attendance will be able to bet on the game from their seats all-around the county.

“Americans continue to make it clear: they want to wager with the protections of the legal, regulated market.” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “There’s no doubt this year will generate the highest legal handle in March Madness history.”

Online betting is legal in 8 out of the 12 different host states, each of which can expect record March betting tax revenue.

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