The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

This week in Vegas Seven, I also had a short article about how March Madness betting impacts Las Vegas:

In the past decade, the amount bet on the tournament has almost doubled. That’s more about the expanding popularity of sports betting itself, though, since the percentage of money bet on the tournament has remained close to 65 percent of all money bet at the books in March. Last year saw the biggest total bet on March Madness yet, and this year’s will likely be even bigger, but betting in general is increasing.

Source: The NCAA Tourney’s Economic Impact on the Las Vegas Strip – Vegas Seven

I looked at some numbers I hadn’t before, and the results, while probably not shocking, do confirm a few things I had suspected.


College b-ball cashes in

The NCAA believes that legal betting on college games is antithetical to the purity of its student athletes, yet allows colleges to accept advertising money from casinos. Hypocrisy? You be the judge. From USA Today:

From the $591 million in TV and marketing revenue generated this season to the masses awaiting Saturdays semifinals and Mondays championship game at Detroits Ford Field, the mens tournament and its Final Four have grown into a mega-event on the order of footballs Super Bowl. This year, the NCAA altered its Final Four seating plan to accommodate tens of thousands more ticket buyers, swelling the capacity to a record 70,000-plus and bumping gate receipts by $7 million from the 40,000- to 50,000-seat setups of the past.

Its an apt backdrop for a sometimes contentious debate within the NCAA and its more than 300 Division I schools: How far should the NCAA and its members go to boost revenue at a time when the nations fiscal crisis is weighing on college athletics?

Many schools, with the blessing of NCAA President Myles Brand, are courting an increasingly varied array of sponsors and advertisers and creating some discomfort in the process.

Several schools and conferences allow advertising and promotions by casinos in their arenas or game programs, a practice the NCAA once frowned upon because of gamblings potential threat to the integrity of its sports.

College athletes, in the name of amateurism, are strictly forbidden from cashing in on their renown beyond the scholarships they receive.

But today — as part of arrangements that can bring millions of dollars to their schools — theyre featured in game footage that increasingly shows up on the Internet alongside sponsors logos and products. And in basketball and football video games, the computer-generated likenesses of real-life, still-in-school stars are unmistakable.

NCAA, colleges pushing the envelope with sports marketing –

College basketball has become a big business, obviously. And there’s clearly plenty of betting on it. If you allow one association with gambling, such as advertising, you’re already giving the message that gambling is legitimate. So if it’s OK for followers of your program who are watching at home to shoot craps with your sponsor, what’s wrong about them putting $20 on your team to beat the spread?

NCAA troubled by betting

In case you missed ESPN’s hyperbolic exposition of “bracketology” this weekend, the berths for the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament have been announced, beginning one of bookies’ favorite times of the year, March Madness. And the NCAA is shocked, yes, shocked that people gamble on the tournament, and suggests that the best way to end this national rite is to usurp the right of the people of Nevada to decide whether or not their state should offer legal sports betting.
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Quote of the Day

“I think this country is rapidly embracing various forms of gambling. It’s not the NCAA’s business to be cultural critics or a cultural task force. Our job is to make sure it doesn’t influence college athletics.”

–NCAA President Myles Brand, explaining why he continues to fight legal sports betting in Nevada, but has no problem with money from new pull-tab machines funding an Indianapolis stadium.

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