March Madness 2023 Survey: 62% of Americans Involved as Over $6 Billion to be Wagered

By · 204 days ago
  • Over $6 billion is expected to be wagered on March Madness this year
  • Potentially set to double the $3.1 billion wagered last year
  • Gambling is legal in more states and growing in popularity

Sports betting has never been more accessible to Americans, but growth is still relatively slow in the industry when it comes to “regular bettors”. A Forbes poll from 2021 indicated that only 12% of Americans could be considered “regular” gamblers, but there does appear to be a growing trend of “big-event” bettors who will wager something on significant events like the Super Bowl or March Madness.

That became evident this year as ESPN reported over 50 million American adults combined to wager over $16 billion on the Super Bowl, while early estimates indicate that over $6 billion could be waged on the March Madness tournament this year, but the final amount could be considerably higher.

Who is Betting on March Madness?

“Gambling” on March Madness is generally associated with brackets or sweepstakes in the workplace or within friend groups, but our latest research has demonstrated that this is no longer the case. We found that over 62% of Americans either plan to place a wager on the tournament, or they know someone who will.

Interestingly, it also became apparent that one of the main attractions of March Madness is that people who watch it do so out of tradition, not necessarily because they are hardcore basketball fans:

  • 55% of bettors said they would have no interest in March Madness if they didn’t gamble on it
  • 62% considered themselves to be casual bettors who only wager on large events
  • Over 52% of wagers will be placed online or through a mobile app

How Much Money Will be Wagered on March Madness in 2023?

Last year it’s estimated that over $3.1 billion was wagered on March Madness, however, that was drastically down on the $8.5 billion that’s been wagered on past tournaments. We’ve seen early indications that over $6 billion is expected to be wagered on the 2023 tournament. As always, there will be some serious bettors who bet large amounts of money, but our research suggests that the majority of bets will be smaller and from casual bettors:

  • 52% of wagers will be below $50
  • Only 2% said they would wager over $1000 on the tournament
  • Only 15% of those who intend to gamble currently place a bet more than once a week

Will March Madness 2023 Produce More Regular Bettors?

Sportsbooks are always going to hope that these casual bettors will develop a growing interest in gambling and bet more often, but it appears that they’ll need some customers to win first of all.

We found that 42% would be more likely to gamble on a regular basis if they won money in the tournament, but the potential use of those winnings suggests that a lot of bettors will have more urgent priorities:

  • 33% said they would use the winnings to pay household bills or clear debts
  • Only 14% said they would wager the money again
  • 30% would use it to treat themselves, while 23% would simply put it in their savings

When you consider that the vast majority of responses indicated that winnings wouldn’t be “reinvested” towards another bet, that suggests that rapid growth of regular gamblers after the tournament is unlikely.

*Our survey was based on 2056 responses from Adults based in the USA. The gender breakdown was 56% female to 44% male, with the responses conducted by an external company to give a more accurate overview and sample.

Tom McNeil
Contributor Tom has a deep passion for soccer and has worked as a coach and a first-team scout alongside covering everything from the Champions League to Croatian non-league stories. He also loves the NFL and sees nothing wrong with staying up til 5am on a regular basis to watch it in the UK