March Madness Is Here! Let's All Pretend We Don't Gamble.

Forty million Americans will bet on the college basketball tourney even though it's not really legal.


The NCAA college basketball championship—known as March Madness—officially kicks off today with Selection Sunday where college officials unveil the 68 teams selected to make the tournament. Not only is the sporting event a popular television ratings get, but it's also big time business for sports gaming. 

Marc Edelman, a sports law professor at Baruch College, notes that in 2015 the American Gaming Association estimated that nearly 40 million Americans would bet $9 billion on the NCAA tournament. Most of this wagering is done underground because sports gambling is illegal in most parts of the country. 

While many fans of college basketball will be filling out their brackets and putting money down in office pools, a growing segment of fans are turning to daily fantasy sports sites to cash in on the action. But if you live in states like New York— where lawmakers are claiming daily fantasy sports are illegal games of chance— you may not be able to take in part in all the fun. 

Reason TV recently looked at the daily fantasy sports issue and asked why state-sponsored forms of gaming were okay, while other forms of gaming were deemed to be too harmful for the public.