The NCAA Basketball Tournament begins next week with sports betting now legal in 30 states and Washington D.C. Of those locations, only Oregon bans betting on college sports entirely, while a few states such as Illinois, New Jersey and Virginia restrict betting on in-state college teams.
Legal wagering on March Madness could jump to as much as $3 billion this year at regulated U.S. sportsbooks, according to a projection from PlayUSA. That would triple the nearly $1B NCAA Tournament-specific wagering taken in on last month’s Super Bowl and easily top the 2021 NCAA Tournament as the most bet-on sporting event in U.S. history. The top three markets for NCAA Tournament betting, New York, New Jersey, and Nevada are forecast to draw roughly $400M in handle apiece.
“Wagering on March Madness typically dwarfs the Super Bowl, and this year the difference could be dramatic,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayUSA.com. “The high betting volume is a function of the NCAA Tournament’s popularity coupled with 67 games played over a condensed schedule of just a few weeks. Add in the proliferation of legalized sports betting across the U.S., and this year will easily shatter the record for the most bet-on event set last year by March Madness,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts a 30% increase in U.S. March sports win and also expects a jump in Las Vegas resorts visitation with the NCAA tournament a key attraction. The NCAA tournament led to a 5X increase in sports betting in Nevada last year, which MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle called a key industry event that raised overall confidence in the industry’s potential and led to heavy investments in customer acquisition initiatives over the last year as new states legalized sports betting.
DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) is running live programming on its YouTube channel during the March Madness selection show on Sunday.
Sector watch: The sports betting industry already caught a break this month when Major League Baseball and the players worked out a new collective bargaining agreement. There is also a legislative push in New York to reduce the tax rate on sports betting revenue to 25% from 51% after a threshold of operators is reached.
The list of stocks that touch sports betting directly or indirectly include PlayAGS (NYSE:AGS), Kindred Group (OTC:KNDGF), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), Gambling.com Group (NASDAQ:GAMB), Inspired Entertainment (NASDAQ:INSE), Bally’s (NYSE:BALY), FanDuel/Flutter Entertainment (OTCPK:PDYPY), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), Everi Holdings (NYSE:EVRI), International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT), Entain Plc (OTCPK:GMVHF), Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD), Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN), Evolution Gaming (OTCPK:EVVTY), Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN), Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS), 888 Holdings (OTCPK:EIHDF), Playtech (OTC:PYTCF), Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), Genius Sports Limited (NYSE:GENI), Esports Entertainment Group (NASDAQ:GMBL), DraftKings (DKNG), Golden Nugget Online Gaming (NASDAQ:GNOG), PointsBet Holdings (OTCQX:PBTHF), Sportradar Group (NASDAQ:SRAD), GAN Limited (NASDAQ:GAN), fuboTV (NYSE:FUBO), Rush Street Interactive (NYSE:RSI), Esports Technologies (NASDAQ:EBET), Elys Game Technology (NASDAQ:ELYS), Full House Resorts (NASDAQ:FLL), Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ), Golden Matrix Group (OTCPK:GMGI), Bragg Gaming Group (NASDAQ:BRAG) and Paysafe (NYSE:PSFE).