2015 NCAA tourney smashes Las Vegas gambling records

The NCAAs continue to drive huge interesting — and gambling is a big part. (USATSI)

Be it in record TV ratings, online bracket submissions or gambling wagers, the NCAA Tournament is only increasing in popularity.

Covers.com reports this year’s March Madness festivities led to a record-breaking $263 million in wagers from people who put up cheddar in Las Vegas. In total, $375.5 million was put on the table in the month of March between NBA and college basketball bets. Covers.com states “approximately 70 percent” of that figure went to college hoops, which is how we come to the $263 million.

The report is based off information released by the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. The $375.5 million smashes the previous record of $343.5 million — which happened last year.

And that’s just bets with Vegas casinos/sportsbooks. Think about all the other money, legal and not, that switched hands. In Nevada. In the United States. Worldwide. Billions, most likely.

March’s handle on hoops broke the previous state record set last year when Silver State sportsbooks took in $343,539,823 in basketball bets (the Control Board does not separate college from professional basketball in these pools). March 2015’s record handle earned books $27.9 million off basketball betting in March on a win percentage (hold) of 7.44 percent – another state record for basketball win. … Overall, books won $18.5 million on sports betting in March 2015. That’s a significant jump from the $12.8 million earned in March 2014 and the $12.9 million won in March 2013.

Per usual, Vegas wins again. And with that, so did college basketball. The NCAA Tournament rallies sports fans unlike anything outside of the Super Bowl, and given its three weekend-long format, it’s an interesting look into how gambling just dominates so much regarding sports interest as well.

Looking forward to next season, the odds on the 2016 national championship have been posted. We shared them yesterday. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina are co-favorites at 10/1.

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