This Year’s March Madness Is the Biggest Legal Sports Betting Event in American History
In the two years that have passed since the last college basketball national champion was crowned, more than a dozen additional states have legalized betting on sporting events—which means this year’s March Madness will be the largest legal gambling event in American history.
That’s not just good news for anyone who wants to make the madness a little more interesting, but likely will help ensure that the games themselves are free from the influence of black-market betting.
Roughly 74 million more Americans will be free to wager on the outcome of March Madness this year than in 2019, according to the American Gaming Association, an industry group. Sports betting is now legal in 25 states and Washington, D.C.
After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled last year’s tournament, sportsbooks are betting there will be an unprecedented amount of action in the next few weeks. Dustin Gouker, head of content for PlayUSA, tells MarketWatch that the expansion of legal gambling over the past few years means as much as $1.5 billion could be bet on this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. For comparison’s sake, this year’s Super Bowl saw about $500 million in legal sports betting.
The market for legal sports betting has exploded since May 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that effectively banned gambling on sporting events outside of Nevada and a few other places that were grandfathered into a 1992 federal ban. That ban, by the way, is likely
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