All Bets Are On — MSN Survey Finds Americans Still Wagering on Hoops Despite Economy

REDMOND, Wash. — March 12, 2009 — A new survey conducted by finds that even though the economy may be crimping Americans’ spending habits, more than one-third said nothing will stop them from entering college basketball pools this March not even the economy.

The FBI estimates that Americans wager more than $2.5 billion every year on college basketball bracket pools.1 Even with the recession, this year is looking to be no different. According to the MSN Hoops Hysteria Survey (, 45 percent of Americans plan to enter at least one college basketball tournament pool, and more than 20 percent plan to enter three or more.2

Although unemployment is expected to rise to a high of 8.8 percent, the economy is not breaking the spirits of American basketball fans.3 More than half of those entering basketball pools are planning to enter at least $20 this year, and 22 percent believe their wager will do better than their 401k. Even more, the dedicated fans of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) are pulling out the big bucks, with 36 percent planning to wager at least $40 on their pools, reinforcing their confidence in their bracket and teams. Not everyone has such an optimistic outlook, though. At least 15 percent of respondents said they will be spending less money on NCAA pools than they did last year, with another 10 percent deciding to not enter any money, stating that money is too tight or it is irresponsible in these uncertain economic times.

While Americans may have a fun attitude toward entering basketball brackets, most are grounded in reality. When asked what they would do if they won $1 million by filling out their bracket successfully, three-fourths of Americans said they would either pay off debt or save the money.

From team statistics to tournament standings and college basketball odds, MSN gives college basketball fans all the information they desire. Fans can find a detailed breakdown of survey results and details on the tournament at

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1American Gaming Association, Fact Sheets: “Industry Issues: Sports Wagering”

2The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1,078 men and women ages 18 and older who plan to participate in a college basketball pool this year — all members of the Impulse Research proprietary online panel. The Impulse Research proprietary online panel has been carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics, and the respondents are representative of American men and women 18 and older. Research was conducted in February 2009. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/-3% at the 95 percent rate of confidence.

3 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Open Market Committee Economic Projections, January 2009

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