If you’re a college basketball fanatic, one of your favorite times of the year is quickly approaching. March Madness may not surpass Christmas or your birthday atop the list of the days you most look forward to, but it’s still probably high on the list.
And March Madness encompasses a full month if you count the conference tournaments that help set the 68-team field.
Not only that but you can safely and legally bet on March Madness. Well, at least you can if you live in one of the 18 states, or Washington D.C., where mobile sports betting is legal. Or one of the 25 states, plus Washington D.C., that have legal retail sportsbooks, usually set up in a brick-and-mortar casino. Two more states have legalized retail sportsbooks, but are still waiting for an entity to go live.
If you live in Maryland, however, you are out of luck when it comes to legal mobile sports gambling. At least within the state’s borders. According to MarylandSharp, Maryland mobile sports betting will launch in 2023, it just isn’t expected to happen in time for March Madness.
You can bet on sports legally at one of the five Maryland casinos that’s home to a sportsbook. If you’re located within a short drive of a casino with a sportsbook, that’s great. If not, the lack of mobile sports betting is frustrating.
States Where You Can Place Mobile Bets Legally and Safely
Louisiana, in late January, became the 18th state to launch mobile sports betting, and the second state to do so this year. New York’s mobile sports betting platforms began launching on Jan. 8 and there are now more than a half dozen mobile sportsbooks operating in New York.
That means there are currently 18 states where mobile sports gambling is legal. They’re joined by Washington D.C. Some of the largest states with top mobile sports betting industries include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and several other states.
In addition, there are many states that offer retail sports betting at casinos or betting windows, but those states restrict mobile betting. More than half of the US states permit in-person betting. This includes states like Maryland, which has retail betting but will launch mobile betting later this year. North Carolina, a big basketball state, is another with a couple of retail locations. State legislatures are considering legalizing mobile betting as well.
If you live in one of the states above, you’re able to legally wager on March Madness, either from a mobile device or from a retail location. Casinos are great for interacting with others all watching the same game, but sometimes the ease of gambling from home is too good to ignore.
Options For Those Without Safe and Legal Sports Betting
If you’re in a location without mobile sports betting and aren’t close to a retail location, you still have options to legally wager on March Madness. They involve a little effort, but if you place winning wagers, it’s time well spent.
Let’s use Maryland as an example. The state is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Virginia to the south, and West Virginia to the west.
If you live close to one of Maryland’s borders, you can place mobile sports bets legally in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington D.C. is another option for mobile sports betting. And if you’re closer to a Delaware retail sportsbook than you are one of Maryland’s casinos, that’s another option to consider.
Any of these options are safe and legal, which is far better than wagering via an offshore sportsbook, which is illegal. Such sportsbooks aren’t regulated and there’s no guarantee you’ll receive your winnings. If you don’t, there’s really no recourse as your bet was placed with an entity that isn’t regulated in the US.
Then there’s the threat of identity theft. Mobile sportsbooks operating in the US undergo rigorous scrutiny in each state in which they are licensed. They take multiple steps to ensure your identity in order to keep outsiders from accessing your account. They’re also highly vetted to ensure all payouts are available promptly – something that isn’t guaranteed using an offshore sportsbook.
Why And How To Bet On March Madness
With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, the NBA and NHL a month away from starting the playoffs, and Major League Baseball and The Masters still on the horizon, March Madness is perfectly placed on the sports calendar. Between the numerous conference tournaments and the NCAA Men’s Tournament, you can wager on significant games for a month.
Preparing for the tournament is half the fun – and it’s almost a science. While anyone can guess which 68 teams will make the field, some have turned Bracketology into so much more.
If you’ve yet to place a mobile sports bet, the process is pretty straightforward. The first thing you need to do is to select the platform or platforms you want to utilize. The options vary from state to state.
While a few states have just one available platform, others have a seemingly limitless supply of options. The key is to research the sites until you find the one you’re most comfortable with.
Among the things to consider are the promotional (sometimes called ‘bonus’) offers available to register with a platform and place your initial deposit. While many of the offers are similar in nature among the platforms, some have unique options available that might best dovetail with your approach to mobile sports betting.
After picking a platform, you need to download the mobile app to your device. If your device runs an iOS operating system, you’ll download it from the App Store. If you have an Android device, you’ll find the sportsbook app via the Play Store.
The next step is the registration process, where you’ll need to supply your full name, mailing address, email address, cell phone number, and Social Security number.
Safe And Legal March Madness Betting Opportunities
Once you’ve registered and made your initial deposit, it’s time to find the type of bet that’s right for you. The most obvious options are moneyline bets, point spread bets, and totals bets.
A moneyline bet is the most simple in nature as you’re picking which team will win the game outright. For the team that’s favored, the number next to it is the amount you’ll have to wager to win $100. If the favorite is listed as “-120,” you’ll earn $100 for every $120 wagered.
The number next to the underdog is how much you’ll win on every $100 bet. If the team is +170, a $100 bet will earn you $170, so your payout will be $270 – which includes your winnings and your initial stake.
A bet with the point spread is one where you pick the favorite to win by at least a certain number of points. If a team is favored to win the game by 3.5 points, they must win by at least four points for you to win the wager. If you pick the underdog and they’re receiving 3.5 points, you win the bet as long as they lose by three points or fewer, assuming they don’t win the game outright.
A totals bet is one where you wager that the final score will be ‘over’ or ‘under’ a set total. There are plenty of other wagers available on March Madness, but these examples provide a good starting point.