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NCAA Tourney Draws Fans To Las Vegas Gambling House
The Mirage Resort Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas is shown crowded with basketball fans during the NCAA March Madness Tournament on March 19, 2010. Photograph by Glenn Pinkerton — Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images

Here’s How Many March Madness Bets Will Be Made This Year

Mar 14, 2016

Around $9.2 billion worth of bets are forecast to be made on March Madness games this year.

That number from the American Gaming Association released on Monday is a $200 million increase from last year's NCAA college basketball tournament, and includes all bets made through both Nevada sports books, office pools, and illegal channels such as bookies and offshore sites.

The AGA estimates that the total number of brackets completed for the NCAA Tournament this year should hit 70 million. That is likely to surpass the number of votes cast for any single presidential candidate in this year's elections, whether it's Republican front-runner Donald Trump or Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton.

In fact, the number of brackets filled this year would exceed the popular vote won by any single candidate in U.S. election history:

Last year, the AGA found that the average bet per bracket came in at around $29, and that half of all people who watched March Madness have filled out at least one bracket in their lifetime.

However, most of the best will be made informally (read: in your office), AGA estimates, and only about $262 million wagers are expected to be made legally. According to Tyler Forret, sports handicapping expert and owner of SportsCapping.com and Boyd's Bets, basketball betting has been down this season. If AGA numbers proves accurate, it will be a decline from the number of estimated March Madness wagers made last year with Las Vegas sports books.

Could this year's lack of a dominant team in the NCAA Tournament, and the sentiment that upsets and unpredictability will make this year's March Madness especially hard to predict, cause possible bettors to be skittish with their money? Forret doesn't believe so.

"The only thing that always seems to have a major influence is the broad state of the economy. Recessions obviously bring less expendable income, and that seems to be directly linked to wager amounts," he told Fortune.

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