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Why March Madness Is a Special Time of Year for State Budgets

March Madness impacts state budgets due to increased tourism, ticket sales, and advertising revenue from the college basketball tournament.

  • Global News
  • 116
  • 24, Mar, 2024
Jivika Chawla
Jivika Chawla
  • @JivikaChawla

Why March Madness Is a Special Time of Year for State Budgets

March Madness, a renowned college basketball event, captivates millions worldwide, especially since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling lifted the sports betting ban. Legal sports wagering has surged since, with Americans betting $120 billion in 2023, as per the American Gaming Association.

In 2024, an estimated $2.7 billion is anticipated to be legally wagered on March Madness alone. While its financial benefits intrigue lawmakers grappling with budgetary constraints, concerns persist, particularly regarding gambling addiction's societal impact.

With 38 states currently allowing some form of sports gambling and more contemplating legalization, politicians view it as a potential fiscal remedy. State budgets face challenges with increasing expenditures outpacing revenue growth from traditional "sin taxes" like those on tobacco and alcohol. Lotteries, once a reliable revenue source, have also plateaued.

The allure of sports betting lies in its promise of new revenue streams without raising taxes, making it politically enticing. However, its expansion underscores the need for responsible regulation to mitigate adverse consequences. As a business school professor intrigued by March Madness and its intersection with sports betting, I recognize its dual nature—offering financial relief while demanding vigilant oversight to safeguard vulnerable individuals and communities.

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Jivika Chawla

Jivika Chawla

  • @JivikaChawla