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NCAA Tournament Heats Up New Jersey’s Sports Betting Businesses

March 21, 2019 - 7:35 pm
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MEADOWLANDS, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) — The first NCAA tournament since sports betting in New Jersey became legal is under way and on this first day, the sports book at the Meadowlands was packed.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports, those hoping to for the odds to be in their favor crowded into the sports betting area, their eyes glued to the dozens of screens showing the first game of the tournament.

But why not just watch the game from home and bet from the comfort of the couch?

One sports gambler said it’s all about the experience.

“The environment. The action. The noise,” he told Haskell.

He bet five games and a parlay with multiple games, and noted it's easy to spend more than you anticipate.

“I know a lot of people that lost a lot of money from betting,” he says. “I don't condone it. I don't.”

One man admitted he’s spending thousands on the NCAA tournament, often referred to as “March Madness.”

Joe Palumbo of West Babylon, New York, traveled to the Borgata casino in Atlantic City to bet on Duke to win it all in the NCAA Tournament.

"This is the best time of the year," he said. "It's a hell of a lot more exciting than the Super Bowl. You have 16 games today, 16 games tomorrow. What could be better? There's nothing like it."

This is serious, big business with bettors putting billions of dollars on the line.

The competition features 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Casino industry executives and gambling regulators predict the 67-game tournament should produce more bets than the Super Bowl.

It’s expected to add millions to the $2 billion already wagered on sports in New Jersey since mid-2018.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)