Study: 1 in 5 people to bet on NCAA basketball tournament

Study: 1 in 5 people to bet on NCAA basketball tournament
(Source: Josh Auzenne)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The height of basketball season is here!

A new study found 1 in 5 Americans will bet on the NCAA tournament less than a year after the Supreme Court legalized sports betting.

Sarah Pugh admits she doesn't know much about basketball.

“It seems like kind of a crapshoot to be honest,” Pugh said.

Nonetheless, she turned over some cash for this year’s NCAA tournament.

A new American Gaming Association study shows 47 million Americans will join Pugh.

“There is really nothing like March Madness in the country,” said AGA CEO Bill Miller.

Miller says 149 million brackets will be filled out and 18 million Americans will place bets at sports books, online or with a friend or bookie.

They're expecting $8.5 billion in wagers. Miller says the tide changed following last year's Supreme Court decision that cleared the lane for states to legalize sports betting.

“Making the options available to people, will actually create a better environment,” Miller said.

The National Council on Problem Gambling says odds are you’re not going to be a champion.

“Most casual bettors will lose everything they wager,” said Keith Whyte. March is also problem gambling awareness month.

Whyte calls gambling the hidden addiction, because even though coworkers in an office pool might not show signs, they could be struggling with gambling.

“They know how much gambling has devastated their lives, but that urge to bet,” Whyte said.

The NCAA Tournament round of 64 begins Thursday, and the championship will be played on April 8.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.