Published: May 17, 2021

It All Adds Up: NCAA Tournament Leads To Record $4.6B Handle In March

March Madness proved to be the tide to lift all sports betting boats, setting yet another national record

There was little surprise March delivered a record sports betting handle for the seventh time in the last eight months as bettors across states that generate large handles were able to wager on NCAA tournament games for the first time — including four in the Midwest that missed out on the chance to do so last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $4.61 billion in wagers for March likely will stand as the high-water mark until September, when the juggernaut that is the NFL begins play. The next marquee sporting events are across the Atlantic: the all-English UEFA Champions League final between Premier League champion Manchester City and rival Chelsea takes place May 29, followed by the month-long, 32-nation UEFA European Championship across the continent starting June 11.

This summer looks to be merely the appetizer for bettors to whet their appetite to create a $5 billion handle in September with the overlap of the NFL, Major League Baseball, and college football. Add in the NFL’s glacial 180-degree turn and embrace of legalized wagering through its recent deals with Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings, and you have a formula to hit a number not even dreamed of less than one year ago.

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