March Madness is upon the United States and things are looking up. In 2019, fans will be able to place their legal sports wagers thanks to the resounding success and defeat of PASPA in May, 2018.
March Madness and the Betting Game
March Madness betting has been generating a solid turnover before the federal ban restricting the activity was struck down in May, 2018 with SCOUT overruling PASPA. Last year alone, March Madness, the Unite States’ most popular collegiate basketball competition pulled in $300 million in total handle.
This was in Nevada only, but respected trade group, the American Gaming Association (AGA), estimates that the market in the several-week competition hits easily $10 billion. This is mostly wagering that is placed “illegally”, meaning to offshore bookmakers.
AGA recently said that the $10 billion in suspected total handle applied only to sports betting related to March Madness for 2018, with the illegal market growing every year and making states and businesses within the country lose revenue.
Another concern of AGA has been the fact that illegal operators seldom provide the necessary customer protection level nor do they always honor outstanding payments or arbitrarily choose to cancel out wagers.
March Madness in the Year of Regulated Sports Betting
It would be interesting to see how much handle states will pull in this year, with a number of states already officially accepting wagers on March Madness and sporting events in general. Sports betting has been legalized in 8 states.
This March sports wagers will be accepted in several states, including:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Some places, such as New Jersey, Nevada, and a few others allow sports betting to take place over many different channels, including mobile, online, and on-site. Smaller states have stuck to the universal in-person betting formula, guaranteeing that inter-state betting is not taking place. More states are pushing ahead with the race to legalize the industry.
Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are also considering to expand into mobile sports betting, which will definitely give the states clout, particularly in the case of the smaller Rhode Island.
Pennsylvania has been keeping a wary eye of the latest DOJ Opinion threatening the yet-unreleased iGaming industry in the state which was delayed until June, 2019.
The Sports Betting Bonanza
Many initiatives have emerged amid the sports betting frenzy. Action Network, a company specializing not in sports betting, but in genuine statistically-relevant information to help people bet, has seen an uptick in the amount of people turning to its service.
This has been confirmed by Chad Millman, a former ESPN editorial director, and now Head of Media at Action Network:
There are more and more people who might not have been inclined to bet who are now trying to figure out what it all means.
The total sports betting handle lost to offshore venues is very likely to be at quite high this year as well, but it will at least see states bag a fair bit of the revenue as well. As more states continue to push ahead with their sports betting regulations, offshore bookmakers may already be living on borrowed time.