$4.3 billion wagered illegally during March Madness, fueled by social media influence.

YieldSec, April 11

$4.3 billion wagered illegally during March Madness, fueled by social media influence.

Latest analysis by online marketplace intelligence specialists, YieldSec, commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFG), has revealed a stark contrast between legal and illegal online gambling activities during the 2024 NCAA Men’s & Women’s March Madness Basketball Tournaments in the United States. YieldSec’s monitoring unveiled an overwhelming majority of betting-related social media posts and video content, reaching up to 73% and 78% respectively, directing audiences towards illegal betting and gambling operators.

YieldSec’s findings shed light on the strength of the illegal gambling grip on the American marketplace, with 378 illegal sports betting operators and 651 illicit affiliates aggressively targeting US March Madness audiences and claiming 64% of the total market share, generating $4.3 billion in illegal and untaxed wagering. The remaining $2.4 billion wagered legally amounts to just 36% of the total market share.

These statistics underscore the challenges in controlling the proliferation of unlicensed gambling operators that have historically capitalized on the fragmented legal landscape of online betting in the U.S.

Key findings for March Madness 2024:

  • Illegal gambling on March Madness comprised 64% of US online marketplace wagering ($4.3 billion Handle).
  • Total value of March Madness betting (legal and illegal) amounted to a handle of $6.7bn.
  • 378 illegal sports betting operators actively targeted the USA.
  • 651 affiliates promoted illegal sports betting operators that actively targeted the USA.
  • Illegals dominated social media content with up to 73% of all social posts in favor of illegal operators.
  • 78% of all video content that linked to March Madness betting was linked to illegal operators.

Derek Webb, Founder of CFG, expressed deep concerns over the findings: “This YieldSec special report illustrates the dire need for a comprehensive strategy to tackle illegal gambling in the U.S. The lack of a united government approach and lax oversight by states have only compounded the problem, enabling entities with dubious backgrounds to operate freely. It’s high time for U.S. leadership to spearhead a unified solution to this pervasive issue.”

Ismail Vali, Founder and CEO of YieldSec, added, “The overwhelming presence of illegal gambling during one of the biggest sports betting events of the year is a clear signal that enforcement and monitoring need to be prioritized. Our findings are a call to action for stakeholders across the board to intensify efforts in combating the spread of unlicensed gambling operations that exploit the online marketplace. With the dominance of illegals across our social media channels, it’s clear that the threats to American commerce, community and consumers are a lot closer to home than ever imagined.”

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling is now advocating for a cohesive governmental response to illegal gambling, urging the Department of Justice, Treasury, Federal Trade Commission, and the Trade Representative’s Office to consider the findings of the YieldSec report as a basis for developing effective countermeasures.


About YieldSec:

YieldSec is a technical intelligence platform that helps monitor, police, enforce, and optimize the total marketplace for legal stakeholder clients across online betting, gaming, and lottery activity. The innovative technology, processes and team behind YieldSec produce data, analysis and recommended actions that help support their legal stakeholder clients to deliver optimized online futures which also benefit the ecosystem of commerce, community and consumers. When consumers want to bet on sports, casino or lottery online, they should find fair, safe and legal online betting and gambling in every regulated marketplace. Today, many of the sites and apps that consumers find are not legal, licensed or safe. YieldSec’s mission and work for clients helps to change this status quo and move the needle against crime and towards legal business that benefits local commerce and communities.

About the Campaign for Fairer Gambling:

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFG) exists to advance a politically bipartisan and scientifically evidenced agenda of gambling reform. CFG will be active across America because the nationwide debate over gambling needs more balance and trustworthy data. For more information, visit fairergambling.com or follow @fairergambling on X.