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H2 Estimates $12.1bn To Be Bet on March Madness 2019 - Though Still Only 6.6% ($798.6m) Of It Legally

Posted on 15 March 2019 in General

The 68 NCAA basketball teams are set to play 67 games over a period of 19 days that is the US 'March Madness’ 2019 will generate $12.1bn (£9.2bn/€10.7bn) total handle in bets - although just 6.6% ($798.6m) of this will come from bets placed legally in the 8 states in which sports betting has been regulated. In the 2017 tournament, before the expanded roll-out of sports betting post-PASPA, just 2.9% of total handle was wagered in the regulated Nevada market.


Gross win for the tournament will be dependent on results, but could be as high as $1.1bn, with 6.7% ($73.7m) generated in the regulated states. H2 expects the tournament to also spark a notable increase in handle per game, rising to an estimated $11.9m, compared to the average $90,000 handle for games in the regular season.


With 25m TV viewers expected to watch the tournament’s final on April 8, 730,000 fans attending live games, and ticket receipts of around $160m, total March Madness handle suggests that it is effectively a bigger betting event in the US than the SuperBowl, though the latter of course is just a single game compared to the 67 that make up March Madness. Super Bowl 2019, won by the New England Patriots, generated a total handle of $6.0bn, of which 5% ($300m) was wagered in regulated states. 


These estimates, made on the eve of the tournament, come on the back of H2 releasing its full-year actual figures for the US total onshore regulated sports betting as a whole for 2018. The 2018 total onshore regulated handle came in a fraction under $7bn, with gross win at $445m which is within 2% of H2’s first post-SCOTUS ruling market forecasts (published on 15 May 2018) of $437m. 


H2 will be running a number of event-based estimates during the year and will be attending both Betting on Sports America 2019 in New Jersey in April, and ICE North America 2019 in Boston this May.