It's March Madness season and for many fans, that means an entire month of picking NCAA Basketball brackets, rooting for your favorite school, and in some cases, gambling a lot of money on the outcomes of some very close games.
For those who love sports betting, this year's NCAA tournament has already made some people very rich or hurt their wallets in a major way. When the number 16-seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County (the UMBC Retrievers) beat the number one Virginia Cavaliers, oddsmakers and bookies threw their collective hands in the air. Never has a number 16 seed beaten a number one in the history of the tournament.
And, while a number of brackets were butchered with that game and a number of sports-betters lost some money thinking Virginia was a shoe-in to win, that's the way gambling on NCAA games can go. But, is gambling on sports like the NCAA tournament really a problem? According to one research and data company, it could be.
In an exclusive email interview with WalletHub Analyst, Jill Gonzalez pointed out that there is more money wagered on the NCAA than the SuperBowl, which is widely known as the most watched and likely wagered on game in sports history. When asked how much more, Gonzalez said, "There is more money gambled on NCAA— $141 million was wagered on SuperBowl 52, while a whopping $10.4 billion was wagered on last year's NCAA tournament."
That means a staggering 10 times the amount of money is wagered on NCAA games than the biggest game in football and most of that is done illegally. Of that $10.4 billion, $10.1 of that was not done legally. Some $100 million was profited by Las Vegas casinos and the average bet from fans was somewhere between $20 and $50.
The numbers are amazing considering that WalletHub released an infographic suggesting that the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA bracket are about one in 9,200,000,000,000,000,000 or that it's two times easier to win the lottery back to back.
So, for those of you thinking about hoping your brackets are going to make it through to the end, best of luck. According to WalletHub, you're practically giving your money away.