March Madness sports betting through the roof

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 7:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The American Gaming Association estimates that $3.1 billion will be wagered on March Madness in 2022. The Superbowl is estimated to be $1 billion.

In Arizona, now that the state has legalized sports betting, the figure is between $100 and $125 million according to Arizona Gaming Association’s spokesperson Max Hartgraves.

“Obviously, March Madness is one of the top events in the nation to place wagers on,” he added.

And this year, the betting pot will be enhanced by bettors from Southern Arizona since the Wildcat basketball team is one of those favored to win the national title.

“There’s going to be a lot of people in Tucson, that’s going to be the betting center in Arizona,” said Christopher Doan, an analyst for “And into the first weekend in April as well.”

April 4 will be the championship game for March Madness, which may include the University of Arizona and many people will be betting on it.

With the excitement generated by the Wildcats, it’s likely there will be many fans who will take a stab at betting for the first time.

If so there are some hard and fast rules.

“As a general rule of sports betting is never bet with your heart, bet with your head,” said Doan. “You can’t just blindly follow a team if you’re going to bet because that’s a great way to lose money.”

But in this case, blindly following the University of Arizona to the final four and beyond is probably okay if you haven’t wagered the rent money.

“Set a budget and stick with it,” said Hartgraves. “Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.”

That’s sage advice.

“I’m going to set a budget, $50 dollars is what I’m going to bet on a Thursday,” Doan said. “If you lose that fifty bucks, don’t go I can get away with another$ 25, that’s a slippery slope.”

It’s a slippery slope not just because you’ve broken the rules of smart betting, but you’re also betting for the wrong reasons.

“You know a lot of times it’s something you do with family and friends, its a social form of entertainment,” said Hartgraves. “It’s not a way to make money.”

He says in the four months Arizona has legalized sports betting, $1.7 billion has been wagered and $1.6 billion has been paid out in winnings. Breaking even is a win.

Although the state has done pretty well with its bet of legalizing the sports betting game.

“About $14 million total in revenue for the state sports betting so far,” Hartgraves said. “In four months.”

So will the betting apps and sportsbooks put the old paper brackets so popular in office pools out of business.

Not likely, it’s too much of a tradition.

“I don’t think it will replace the old school paper brackets,” said Doan. “I think it just gives you something else to do to have some skin in the game on the opening weekend.”

And a little skin in the game is what it’s all about.

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