With NCAA College Basketball’s March Madness swiftly approaching, sports betting will be nearly ubiquitous, as American’s partake online, at work in betting pools, and in official gambling arenas.
The March Madness tournament begins March 18th and continues through the first week of April, making it one of our biggest collegiate sports tournaments. Sixty-four teams widdle down to one over the course of three major rounds and four regional rounds that determine a final four and, of course, the champion contenders. Because the tournament is so large and there are so many games to bet on, March Madness has taken on the second meaning behind the name; in fact, Americans bet more money on the first four days of March Madness than they do for the Superbowl, which is undoubtedly our biggest sports event (AGA, 2013).
According to the American Gaming Association, “the FBI estimates nearly $2.5 billion is illegally wagered during March Madness each year (AGA, 2013).” This year, billionaire Warren Buffett decided to make things even more interesting by offering $1 billion to anyone who correctly predicts the winners of every game in their March Madness bracket (Erb, 2014). In the improbable case that there is more than one person who does this, they will share the $1 billion, which will be relayed in annual installments of $25 million (Erb, 2014). With that sum of money on the table, even novice and non-gamblers will be tempted to fill out a bracket this year.
For some individuals, gambling is a legitimate process addiction that can uproot their lives in both minor and major ways. Furthermore, the exorbitant amount of money being wagered for March Madness this year brings sports betting to a new level. Participating in this type of scenario for an addict can be extremely dangerous. Gambling has the ability to destroy the financial lives of just about anyone who is consistently involved – unless they get help.
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