More than 47 million Americans are expected to place bets on the country’s traditional March Madness tournament in 2021, according to figures published by the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Being held for the first time since 2019 after last year’s tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, the AGA said it expects online and physical sportsbook betting to grow dramatically compared to 2019, bolstered by legal sports betting now being available in 13 more jurisdictions and for 65.4 million more Americans than this time two years ago.
“The sports betting landscape has changed dramatically since 2019 and as a result, tournament betting has transformed,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “As consumers formerly limited to bracket contests now enjoy access to legal sportsbook options, they also plan to place traditional sports bets as March Madness returns.
“With more legal, regulated sports betting options than ever before, millions of customers now have safer ways to enjoy all the fun and suspense only March Madness provides.”
March Madness is a single elimination men’s basketball tournament played each northern spring and currently featuring 68 college basketball teams from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
According to the AGA, the total number of Americans who will wager on this year’s March Madness will be similar to 2019, however their methods of betting will change substantially: traditional bets are expected to almost double from 17.8 million Americans to 30.6 million Americans, while the number of people filling out brackets will fall. The number of people placing bets online is expected to grow by 208% to 17.8 million and those betting at a physical sports book is expected to grow by 79% to 8.3 million.
There are now 25 states, plus Washington DC, offering legalized sports betting in the United States, while another 17 have active or pre-filed legislation to legalize sports betting, the AGA said.