March Madness betting estimated to reach $3 billion

It's time for March Madness. This year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will also likely end up being the most bet on sporting event in U.S. history, according to

"The Super Bowl gets a lot of attention for being a big betting event, but March Madness should be three times that," said Dann Stupp, content manager for and

Experts estimate that legal wagering on the tourney will approach $3 billion at U.S. sportsbooks. For context, Stupp said this year’s Super Bowl pulled in about $1 billion in bets and last year’s NCAA tournament grossed a reported $1.4 billion in bets.

One big reason for the increase, Stupp said, is there were only 21 legal sports betting jurisdictions at this time last year, but that’s no longer the case.

"When you have 30 states and D.C. now offering it, it’s just kind of American culture at this point," Stupp said.

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There is a wrinkle, however, if you’re betting in Virginia. It’s one of only a few states where you can’t bet on in-state colleges. So, if you like one of the four Virginia teams invited to this year’s big dance, you can’t legally bet on or against them if you’re physically located in the Commonwealth.

"In their eyes, they’re protecting college athletes," Stupp said of Virginia lawmakers. "People are still gonna bet on those games, they’re just gonna find other non-legal ways to do it like they’ve done in the past." also estimates that the top three markets for tourney betting will be New York, New Jersey, and Nevada. They expect each to generate about $400 million in handle apiece.