The NCAA men’s basketball tournament will attract $8.5 billion in both legal and illegal sports wagers, according to the American Gaming Association.

A March 18 survey released by the AGA estimates that 47 million American adults will wager on March Madness, which means one in five adults will place a bet during the tournament. Legal sports betting is an option for all states following the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 2018 ruling in Murphy v. NCAA, which repealed the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). That law had prohibited states from authorizing gambling related to professional and amateur sports leagues.

  • Legal wagers could mean millions in tax revenue for states that allow sports betting. In addition to the states already permitting sports betting, more than 20 states have introduced legislation this year to legalize it, according to the AGA.
  • If you live in one of the seven states offering statewide sports betting—Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and West Virginia—you can wager on the tournament, which kicks off March 19. In New Mexico, only tribal casinos can take sports bets. Arkansas, New York, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., have legalized sports betting but aren’t yet taking bets.
  • Sports fans are expected to bet 40 percent more than they did on this year’s Super Bowl, Bill Miller, the gaming association’s president and CEO, said in a news release.
  • The AGA estimated that about 7.6 million people will place an illegal bet through a bookie or illegal offshore websites.