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March Madness Betting Hits New Heights: Legal Wagers Expand Across the US

As the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments kick off, fans in North Carolina and across the United States are experiencing a new era of sports betting. For the first time, North Carolinians can place legal bets on the games from the convenience of their smartphones and computers, joining a growing number of states embracing sports betting.

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The Spread of Sports Betting

Since last year’s March Madness, the landscape for legal sports betting in the US has broadened significantly. Now, 38 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized some form of sports betting, with 30 of these allowing bets to be placed online. This marks a dramatic shift from 2018, when Nevada was the sole state offering legal sports wagering.

While the excitement for the tournaments mounts, fans should be aware of varying state rules regarding sports betting. Some states restrict betting on local college teams or specific player performances, whereas others offer a wide range of betting options, including game outcomes and individual player statistics.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Impact on the Economy

The surge in legal sports betting has led to an impressive spike in wagering amounts. In 2023 alone, over $121 billion was bet on sports, generating $11 billion in revenue for operators. The NCAA basketball tournaments are expected to attract an estimated $2.7 billion in bets this year, underscoring their significant impact on the sports betting industry.

State-by-State Expansion

Several states have joined the sports betting scene or expanded their offerings since the last NCAA tournament. Notable mentions include Nebraska, Kentucky, Maine, Florida, and Vermont, with North Carolina recently allowing statewide online sports betting.

Future Prospects

The trend toward legal sports betting shows no signs of slowing down, with states like Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Minnesota exploring or considering legalization. This expansion reflects a growing acceptance of sports betting as a regulated entertainment activity, despite the ongoing debate over its implications.

As March Madness unfolds, the integration of sports betting adds a new dimension to the fan experience, illustrating the evolving relationship between sports and gambling in the United States.



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