As the men’s NCAA Sweet 16 round gets underway, Connecticut residents are placing wagers on winners, losers, and everything in between.
“We’re seeing tons of different options from straight bets, moneyline, spread bets, and parlays,” said Paul Dionne, the vice president of marketing for Sportech Venues which is teamed up with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.
It’s the rookie season of sorts for CT Lottery’s sports betting venture and it says March Madness basketball is bringing in a lot of bets.
“We’re learning a lot about what consumers are interested in doing and how they behave,” said Connecticut Lottery President and CEO Greg Smith.
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CT Lottery says they took in $3 million dollars in bets just on college basketball the Thursday through Sunday of the start of the tournament, but at this point, they can’t tell us how that will benefit state funds since some people waged on winners this weekend or in the finals.
“Unlike the Superbowl where there’s only one game that’s played, we won’t have an outlook on how we did collectively for the tournament up until April 4th when we see that close,” said Andrew Walter, Dir. of Legal Affairs for the Sports Betting Division at Connecticut Lottery.
Five months in, it’s is looking forward to the momentum building this weekend both on their PlaySugarHouse sportsbook app and in nine locations around the state too.
“This has certainly opened up our doors and allowed us to fit more folks into our venues. Give them an opportunity to do something that they’ve long asked for,” said Dionne.
But like any sport, gambling is not a game for everyone.
So far, the lottery says 500 people have signed up for the state's voluntary self-exclusion program, which keeps folks with gambling issues from not participating in all state gaming options. Plus, it says you can put limits on their sportsbook app too.
“With each month more and more people are joining the voluntary self-exclusion program which is a great option for somebody who feels they’ve gone beyond their limits,” said Christopher Davis, government relations & responsible gaming manager for CT Lottery.
The American Gaming Association estimates 45 million Americans plan to make a bet during this year’s college basketball tournament. They expect them to wager $3.1 billion dollars total. Plus, they expect those who did bet will place more than 75% of their wagers on some kind of channel other than a bracket during the tournament. That’s up more than 20 percent from last year.