Betting on March Madness

12 March 2012 | By:

March Madness begins this week, with college basketball’s annual tournament to determine a national champion taking its place as one of the most wagered-on sporting events each and every year.

Aside from legal gambling in sportsbooks in Las Vegas, an estimated $2.5 billion in illegal bets will be made on March Madness in the US — not to mention as estimated $1 billion lost due to wages paid to distracted workers who are more focused on following NCAA games online instead of working.

A survey from MSN said 86% of employees will spend time during working hours following the March Madness action, while more than half of workers said they would devote at least an hour to watching games during the first two days, with 6% of employees taking time off work.

Office pools are the most common March Madness bet, ranging from casual work pools where co-workers each kick in a few bucks to highly competitive pools with entry fees of thousands of dollars.

Sportsbooks in Las Vegas posted their odds Monday following Sunday’s announcement of the brackets, with Kentucky the odds-on favorite to take the title. The NFL Super Bowl is the most profitable event each year for sportsbooks but March Madness is a close second, with many gamblers making the trip to Las Vegas each year in March just to be able to bet on games.

Betting at online sportsbooks will also be very popular, with more and more gamblers around the world going online to place their wagers on basketball, football, and other sports throughout the year. Online sportsbooks offer a wide range of bets for March Madness, including live in-game betting as well as dozens of different prop bets and other wagers that can only be found online.

March Madness bracket pools and fantasy games are also very popular, with some free contests offering a million dollar payday in the unlikely event that a contestant is able to correctly pick the outcome of every single March Madness game. 

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