New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize sports betting. For their efforts, they’ve quickly became the gambling headquarters of the East coast. March Madness was huge for New Jersey, posting revenue numbers of more than $30 million for the entire month. In Louisiana, lawmakers have been considering legalizing the act for about a week now. Bringing sports betting to the state would certainly benefit them, too.
This year was the first time the NCAA Tournament could legally be bet on. The uplifting of the sports betting ban occurred in May of last year, more than a full month after the end of March Madness. New Jersey was quick to fall in line, legalizing the act a month later in June. Since that time, they’ve quickly racked up millions in revenue.
Prior to the NCAA Tournament this year, New Jersey sportsbooks earned $12.7 million in the month of February, when the Super Bowl was played. During March however, they earned a whopping $31.9 million, a product of more than $370 million in bets placed within the state.
To put things in comparison, their previous record for highest revenue earned in a month from sports bets was $24 million. This happened during September, which was just before the beginning of the MLB playoffs.
March Madness has always been a massively popular event, with millions participating in some form of bracketology. The NCAA Tournament is an environment where winners are determined through a combination of great coaching, stellar individual players, mental fortitude, and a bit of luck.
Being a top seeded team doesn’t guarantee you’ll make it out of your bracket, let alone make it to the Final. While 1st seeded Virginia did win the title game, they beat Oregon by just 4, Purdue by 5 in overtime, and narrowly escaped Auburn with a 1 point lead.
1st seeded North Carolina lost to the 5th seeded Auburn in the Sweet 16. Going back to the first round of the tournament, 12th seeded Murray State beat the 5 seed, Marquette. If you look at the bracket, you’ll see plenty of upsets and unpredictable outcomes. This makes it a super fun event to bet on, adding an extra layer of investment to an already-engaging activity.
The legislative session in Louisiana has been underway for just under a week now. There have been several bills related to sports betting that have been proposed and are currently being considered.
Bill SB 153 has received the most support so far. This bill proposes that establishments operated by the state, like casinos, be allowed to take sports bets. It also includes online betting, but limits that to licensed establishments only.
Another bill, HB 469 has similar language within, but differs in specifics. Neil Abramson proposed a third bill that outlines the tax structure for sports betting and information needed to actually legalize it.
As with other states working on legalization, Louisiana’s best bet is likely a combination of the three bills into one, agreeable piece of legislation. Louisiana certainly has roots in the NCAA Tournament as well. Louisiana State University (LSU) was a 3rd seen in the tournament this year, although they did lose to 2nd seeded Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
LSU has made an appearance in March Madness more than 20 different years, but have played just twice since 2009.
Either way, Louisiana is looking to bring sports betting to the state. Next week should come with more information on what lawmakers will decide to do.