There likely will be more NCAA tournament brackets filled out than there will be votes for any single candidate in this year's presidential election, and nearly twice as much money will be bet on the tournament than on the Super Bowl, according to estimates released Monday by the American Gaming Association.
The AGA estimated that more than 70 million brackets will be filled out, contributing to the $9.2 billion expected to be bet on the NCAA tournament through office pools, Nevada sportsbooks, offshore websites and local bookies.
No presidential candidate has ever received 70 million votes, according to the AGA. President Barack Obama came closest in 2008 with 69 million. He received 65 million in the 2012 election.
Hillary Clinton currently is the favorite to win the presidency, listed as a 1-2 favorite in the United Kingdom. Republican front-runner Donald Trump is next at 3-1. Betting on U.S. elections is not allowed at Nevada sportsbooks.
The AGA estimated that $262 million will be bet on the NCAA tournament at Nevada books this year. By comparison, $132.5 million was bet on the Super Bowl in Nevada this year.
Nevada Gaming Control does not track college and pro basketball separately, but the impact of the NCAA tournament is easy to see. Last March, an all-time high $375.5 million was bet on basketball, both college and professional, at Nevada's regulated sportsbooks, according to gaming control. In February 2015, $153.84 million was bet on basketball in Nevada.
Laws regarding office pools vary from state to state, and only a small percentage of the money wagered on the NCAA tournament will be wagered legally.
"Americans' passion for betting fuels the unmatched popularity of March Madness," Geoff Freeman, the AGA president and CEO, said in a news release. "Betting increasingly drives sports fans -- and even casual observers -- to invest in the tournament, offering further evidence that sports betting is the new national pastime. It's time for a fresh, rational approach to sports betting that reflects this reality."