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March Madness online wagering set to surge as tournament betting evolves


New findings from the American Gaming Association (AGA) have revealed that more than 17 million Americans will use online betting to wager on the March Madness tournament in 2021, a rise of 206% from 2019.

The survey by Morning Consult, conducted across 2,200 adults, also revealed that more than 47 million Americans will place bets on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament overall.

In total, 30.6 million Americans will place more conventional bets this year, up from 17.8 million in 2019. It is the first tournament held since 2019, after the 2020 edition was canceled as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Although the number of betting Americans has remained stable from 2019, there have been adjustments in how people will bet on the tournament this year.

Bets placed at a physical sportsbook are set to rise by 79% compared to 2019, with bracket betting expected to drop by 8% from 2019.

AGA president and chief executive Bill Miller said that sports betting has “changed dramatically” since 2019, adding that “tournament betting has transformed” to align with it.

“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.”