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$2.72 Billion To Be Legally Bet On Men's & Women's March Madness

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 4 mins

$2.72 Billion To Be Legally Bet On Men's & Women's March Madness

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

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Americans will legally wager $2.72 billion on the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments this year. The American Gaming Association figures released Thursday equal 2.2% of all the money legally wagered in the United States in 2023. 

When March Madness begins next week, 39 states will offer legal sports betting in the United States. Thirty of those allow online wagering through sports betting apps and websites. 


RELATED: NCAA Perfect Bracket Odds - Compared To Powerball, Mega Millions


Since UConn won the NCAA Men’s Championship and LSU won the NCAA Women’s Championship in 2023, five states gave added legal online sports betting. Wagering launched statewide in North Carolina on Monday. Betting also went live online in Kentucky, Florida, Vermont, and Maine in the past 12 months. 

The $2.72 billion figure represents a 55% increase the amount of money legally bet on Super Bowl 58 in February. The AGA estimates that $1.5 billion was wagered through legal U.S. retail and online sportsbooks on that game, won by the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime. 

The NCAA tournaments include 134 games combined in both the men’s and women’s sides. And each game offers the opportunity a buzzer-beater, bracket-busting upset, or an unbelievable highlight. 

How Popular Is The NCAA Tournament?

$2.72 Billion To Be Legally Bet On Men's & Women's March Madness 1

In 2023, the AGA estimated that a record 68 million – a quarter of the U.S. adult population - wagered $15 billion on March Madness. Those figures included those who bet legally, with illegal/offshore betting sites, in person with a bookmaker, made friendly bets with friends, and/or via brackets. 

Among AGA’s other numbers from 2023: 

  • 31 million people placed traditional bets online, at a sportsbook, or with a bookie.
  • 21.5 million bet casually with friends.
  • 56.3 million participated in a bracket contest.
  • 75% of bettors said 2023 was their first time betting on March Madness.

RELATED: Caitlin Clark Drives Interest In Women's March Madness Betting


Caesars Sportsbook Assistant Director of Trading Adam Pullen believes so many bet on March Madness, many for the first time, because of the drama that accompanies each game.

"There are so many close games. Buzzer beaters. You don't have to be a basketball fan to be interested in the tournament. The layperson. Everyone knows what March Madness is. It's part of the fabric of this country. A unique event. And it's four weeks long," Pullen told bookies.com in an exclusive interview last week. "That first Thursday and Friday, you can't beat the excitement. Being in a sportsbook. It's just crazy. It can't be touched. The small schools beat the big schools. It encompasses so much in life. Anybody can win. A No. 1 like Purdue (in 2023) can lose. Those things happen. It just transcends sports." 

The Numbers Behind The Numbers 

Here are some numbers, according to a survey of 2,000 basketball fans aged 21+, conducted by OnePoll from February 8-14 for Tipico sports book. 

  • 36 hours: Average time spent on March Madness
  • 13 hours: Watching games
  • 10 hours: Engaging with online content and highlights,
  • 6 hours: Creating brackets and placing bets
  • 57%: Think their favorite team can win the tournament
  • 30%: Will pick their team to win their bracket
  • 19 points: Average second-half deficit that will cause fans to give up hope
  • 26%: Fans have skipped work to catch a game
  • $570: Fans expect to spend on the tournament experience
  • 39%: Fans are expected to bet on the tournament 
  • $261: Expected average winnings 

“March Madness is a cultural phenomenon unlike any other because anyone can be a hero; every year, new storylines captivate a diverse audience and define the fabric of the college basketball world," said  Brian Becker, Tipico Head of Marketing. "For fans nationwide, it is a battle between knowledge and pure luck.”

Pullen agrees. "My daughter fills out a bracket. It's part of the national culture." 

March Madness Men’s 2024 Schedule 

Here is the schedule for men’s March Madness 2024, which begins with Selection Sunday on March 17, 2024:

Selection Sunday: March 17

First Four: March 19-20

First Round: March 21-22

Second Round: March 23-24 

Sweet 16: March 28-29 

Elite Eight: March 30-31 

Final Four: Saturday, April 6 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

NCAA Championship Game: Monday, April 8 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

March Madness Women’s 2024 Schedule 

Here is the schedule for women’s March Madness 2024, which begins with Selection Sunday on March 17, 2024:

Selection Sunday: March 17

First Four: March 20-21

First Round: March 22-23

Second Round: March 24-25

Sweet 16: March 29-30

Elite Eight: March 31-April 1 

Final Four: Friday, April 5 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland

NCAA Championship Game: Sunday, April 7 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.