The Weekly Take

If you don’t know what March Madness is, chances are you are not any type of sports fan or someone who places bets. Simply put, it’s madness.

There are a total of 68 NCAA basketball teams and 63 tournament games. The games are single-elimination. Yes, the teams are competing for the ultimate title of Division I NCAA basketball champion, but the real competition happens among the spectators.

Each person involved creates a bracket and tries to predict the outcome of every single game. Each time they correctly predict the winner, they recieve a point. They enter themselves in a “pool,” or group of people where their brackets compete. Whoever picks up the most points wins.

What is the point and why is everyone so crazed? Whoever correctly picks the winner of every game wins $1 million… every year… for the rest of their life courtesy of investor Warren Buffett.

Now, no one in the history of March Madness has ever created a perfectly predicted bracket, but that is only motivation for people to stay involved. A huge incentive are the winnings from each pool. Some do it for fun and friendly competition, others require a buy-in and winner takes all.

Betting in the world of sports has been around forever. People love competition, people love being right and people love money.

According to the American Gaming Association, only 3 percent of all bets were placed legally in 2018. The NCAA March Madness tournament was never considered illegal betting because it was one large bet with slim to no chances of winning.

Just because creating a bracket was legal doesn’t mean there weren’t also illegal mishaps.

As mentioned earlier, bettors can compete in a pool with a “winner takes all” buy-in. CBS News reported that collectively, Americans have wagered nearly $8.5 billion on the 2019 spring tournament. It’s free to create a bracket, but groups are creating rules of their own, ensuring to keep March Madness involvement booming.

This year, sports betting is experiencing a huge turn because last May the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting. Technically, any bets that were placed for the NCAA tournament outside of creating a perfect bracket were illegal. The only recognized bets were the nonexistent perfect brackets.

With every overturned ban comes underlying conditions. For sports betting, there are quite a bit of online and mobile websites suitable for wagering. Some states require that any and all bets must be placed inside casinos on their land-based devices.

For the most part, Arizonans are free to place bets on any licensed and regulated sportsbooks with almost no prohibitions from laws.