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Survey Says: NCAA Tournament Could Produce $6 Billion Handle

US-facing sportsbook operators are gearing up for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka, March Madness) and, according to a recent survey conducted by VegasOdds, this year’s tournament could produce a massive $6 billion handle. The results of the survey highlight the highly cyclical nature of the US market, and provides some insight into the collective mind of the betting public.

March Madness is the next biggest wagering event for Americans behind the Super Bowl, but it’s an even that generates considerably less fan passion. But what March Madness lacks in passion, it more than makes up for in enthusiastic betting. The survey found that 55 percent of respondents would be less interested in the tournament if it weren’t for gambling, and the ubiquitous tournament brackets. In fact, 29 percent of respondents said that gambling was their main reason for following the tournament in the first place.

While March Madness offers plenty of action for basketball enthusiasts, the survey found that 42 percent of respondents placed a wager just to make the tournament more exciting.

The informal nature of March Madness betting, particularly with brackets, makes the tournament a relatively low-stakes proposition for most bettors. VegasOdds found that 52 percent of those betting on the games will be wagering $50 or less. Only two percent of respondents planned on wagering $1000 or more.

And just to confirm how loose Americans’ relationship with March Madness is at its core, 52 percent of the respondents said that they would not be betting more overall as a result of their tournament wagers. That said, US-facing operators will be glad to see all that March Madness money before the American market goes into a slow period ahead of basketball and hockey playoffs.