March Madness Leads To Record Earnings In Sports Betting
March set another record for Nevada casinos thanks to the help of the NCAA’s March Madness. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sports betting alone during the month reached beyond $475 million, which was considered a record take for March. This year’s sports betting revenue for the state climbed $16 million higher than last year. Compared to 2007, when sports betting could barely reach past the $250 million mark, it’s easy to see how the practice of sports betting in Nevada has grown by leaps and bounds.
Basketball received the lion’s share of attention, no doubt thanks to the annual collegiate hoops contest held in March. In all, Basketball for both college and NBA events received more than $450 million in wagers.
While Nevada had a record month when it came to sports betting, the rest of the nation was banking on basketball fever as well. American’s spent an estimated $10 billion overall on the NCAA tournament brackets alone. Wagers that were placed legitimately are said to make up only three percent of this figure.
Media outlets clamored to get a leg up on the events with CBS and Turner Sports reportedly ponying up $1 billion to claim exclusive televising rights for every event up until 2032. The CBS network runs the largest bracket contest as well, offering non-monetary participation as well as competition for prizes.
Mixing Money with Fun
While the NCAA’s March madness garners nationwide attention from sports fans of all ages, many communities and organizations have expressed concern over the practice of bracket pools, if even for fun.
The NCAA itself released a statement during this year’s events much to that effect, admitting that while it hosts its own bracket event, the organization has “learned that these types of pools are often the entry for youth to begin betting.” While it is a common practice to put even meager sums of money down on brackets as friendly wagers, the NCAA urged participants to shy away from involving money in their bracket activities.
The organization received strong words from the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Geoff Freeman, who fired back at the NCAA, saying their position was “hypocritical.” Freeman represents a lobbying organization that seeks to legitimize gambling in the eyes of the American public and champion for a regulated framework in which participants can safely enjoy the pastime of gambling.
Professor Bo Bernhard International Gaming Institute at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, conceded the office pool is a time honored tradition, even if it is in a grey area legally speaking. However, he admitted to CBS in an interview that “the broader, more important issue is that there’s widespread wagering on sports that goes unmonitored, unregulated, and that’s where you can get in trouble.”
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