It is March and in the American sports world, it means the college basketball tournament is approaching and that should mean betting and lots of it both legally and illegally. The real March Madness though may not be in the various cities and arenas that have landed the NCAA’s games. Instead they may be in statehouses around the country where lawmakers are racing against the clock to get bills passed and then go home for the year. Sports betting is a big issue in some states but the Super Bowl did not do as well as expected on the day that was supposed the Super Bowl of betting. Nevada’s total handle was around $146 million and some of that money went back to the state but that was $12 million below the 2018 Super Bowl. New Jersey had about $35 million worth of wagers which was somewhat below expectations. Mississippi came in with about $5 million. Delaware’s handle was about $2.2 million, West Virginia’s figure was $2.8 million. Nevada’s state coffers were enriched by probably $750,000 and that is the number politicians are more than likely viewing. How much new revenue can a state get from sports gambling which could go to needs? One day doesn’t tell the whole story. New Jersey has seen brisk and steady betting since it opened sportsbooks last summer.
No one is taking any action on what states will end up with sports gambling but a number of states could join Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, Rhode Island and New Mexico as sportsbook havens. Politicians could open sportsbooks in New York and Arkansas at any time. Politicians in Connecticut, Illinois, Arizona and many other states have examining the pros and cons of sports betting. Sports league are lobbying lawmakers for a slice of the pie through an integrity fee. March Madness is underway.