The Economics Of March Madness Brackets

April 6, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Douglas Lavanture, David Ingold, and Adam Pearce looked into how much money is bet on March Madness, an American college basketball event, each year.

  • Betting on March Madness is illegal in every state except Nevada.
  • In Nevada about $245 million is estimated to have been legally bet on the event in 2014.
  • But the real allure of college basketball is the billions bet in illegal office pools across America.
  • According to one estimate, for a domestic event like March Madness, for every $1 bet in Nevada, about $50 is bet in the rest of the country.
  • This would mean that about $12.5 billion is wagered on the college basketball championship every year.
  • Approximately $2 billion is on brackets alone. The rest is thought to be from Vegas style bets.
  • The NCAA, the organization behind March Madness, ostensibly opposes gambling on the event.
  • In reality though about 80% their revenues come from viewership of the event, and a big draw for watchers is to see how their betting brackets are doing.

Read other details about how the numbers were calculated, the most common types of bets, other estimates for how much is wagered, and more over here.

Source: Bloomberg