It’s March Madness and more people than ever can legally bet on basketball games

Since the last March Madness tournament, the number of states permitting legal sports betting has increased. Currently, 38 states along with the District of Columbia allow some form of sports betting, with 30 states and the nation’s capital allowing online wagering.

Previously, Nevada was the only state where individuals could legally bet on games during the 2018 college basketball tournaments. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling paved the way for expansion across the country.

Each state has its own rules regarding sports betting. Some states prohibit bets on local college teams or specific players’ performances. Other states not only allow bets on the outcome of college games but also on various player statistics like points, rebounds, and assists.

As the tournaments begin, here are some key points to keep in mind about sports betting:


Legal sports betting sites saw a total of over $121 billion in bets placed in 2023, resulting in a 30% increase from the previous year. The revenue generated by sports betting operators was around $11 billion after paying out winnings, up from approximately $7.5 billion the previous year.

The American Gaming Association estimates that $2.7 billion will be bet on this year’s NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments through legal sportsbooks.

The Vice President of Research at the American Gaming Association, David Forman, highlighted that March Madness is a significant event for sports betting.


Despite living in states where sports betting is legal, some fans might not be able to bet on their preferred teams and players. Approximately a dozen states prohibit betting on college games involving local teams.

Four additional states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont) generally disallow bets on their own college teams but make exceptions for tournaments.

States like Maryland and Ohio have banned proposition bets on college players to address concerns raised by the NCAA about potential problems including harassment of athletes and mental health issues.


Since the last men’s tournament victory by the University of Connecticut, six states have either introduced or expanded sports betting. Nebraska started accepting sports bets at casinos last June, while Kentucky and Maine initiated sports betting in September and November respectively.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida began taking online sports bets in December following a court win. In January, Vermont began offering online sports betting.

North Carolina recently expanded sports betting to include online wagering statewide, starting on March 11 just before the ACC men’s basketball tournament.


Several states are considering legalizing sports betting, with Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Minnesota being among them. DraftKings and FanDuel have contributed to initiatives in Missouri to place sports betting on the November ballot.

Legislation is pending in Georgia and Alabama to authorize sports betting through constitutional amendments. In Mississippi, a bill for online sports betting expansion is being considered by the state Senate.


While sports betting is still illegal in many states, some residents cross state lines to place bets legally. In cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, individuals drive to nearby locations just across state borders to access legal betting sites via mobile apps.

Technology plays a role in blocking illegal bets, as seen during the Super Bowl weekend where GeoComply Solutions processed location checks to prevent bets from states where sports betting is not permitted.

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