How To Bet Responsibly During March Madness

A Responsible March Madness

NC State March Madness Winner


March Madness stands as a hallmark event in college basketball, uniting fans in a spectacle of athleticism, competition, and tradition. Alongside the excitement on the court, the tournament also opens avenues for enthusiasts to engage in betting, a practice that can enhance the thrill of the games. However, the key to maximizing enjoyment of this aspect lies in approaching gambling with responsibility and mindfulness. This guide aims to equip participants with essential strategies and knowledge to foster a safe and enjoyable betting experience during March Madness.

Setting a Realistic Budget

Responsible gambling begins with the fundamental step of setting a budget. Financial management serves as the cornerstone of a disciplined betting strategy, ensuring that the excitement of the tournament does not lead to financial strain. It is advisable to allocate a specific sum of money for betting—a sum that, if lost, would not impact one's financial stability or well-being. This budget should be viewed as an entertainment expense, akin to spending on any other form of leisure activity.

How Much Should I Bet?

There are multiple ways to think about this. During March Madness, due to the sheer amount of games, you may think that it might be ok to bet more than your budget, but please, bet with self-control. A general rule of thumb is to set your limit at 1% of your annual salary. That means, if you make $70,000 per year you should only allocate $700 annually (or $58 monthly) to gambling. 

Doing Thorough Research

Informed betting is responsible betting. The outcomes of sports events are inherently unpredictable, but a well-researched bet can increase engagement and enjoyment. Before placing bets, individuals are encouraged to research the performance history of teams, the condition and readiness of players, and any relevant statistical data. Utilizing reputable sources for this research—such as official team websites, recognized sports analysis platforms like KenPom, and historical performance records—can provide a solid foundation for making educated decisions.

The RG guide on March Madness Betting Trends is a great resource to learn about what works and what works less.

Choosing the Right March Madness Betting Platforms

The platform on which one chooses to bet plays a crucial role in the safety and fairness of the gambling experience. Bettors are strongly advised to use only legally regulated and reputable betting sites. These platforms ensure data security, fair play, and ethical gambling practices. Risks associated with unregulated or offshore betting sites include a lack of consumer protection, potential fraud, and uncertain payout practices. If you see the “RG” logo on the sportsbook homepage that means that the platform has numerous tools and resources to implement responsible gambling and you should take advantage of them. 

Responsible March Madness Sportsbooks

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Safer Sports Gambling Strategies

Gambling inherently carries the risk of loss; to mitigate risks and ensure a positive experience, consider these responsible gambling tips:

  • Avoid gambling if you're feeling stressed or upset.
  • Limit alcohol and cannabis use during gambling.
  • Understand game mechanics before betting.
  • Implement budget and time limits using available tools on platforms and machines.
  • Take regular breaks for movement, fresh air, or snacks.
  • Only use disposable income for gambling—never funds for essentials or borrowed money.
  • Accept losses; attempting to recover them often leads to greater losses.
  • Recognize gambling is not a reliable source of income, not suitable for funding trips, bills, or debt repayment.
  • Keep to your budget by not bringing credit or debit cards to gambling venues.
  • Diversify your leisure activities beyond gambling.
  • Stop playing the moment it stops being enjoyable.
  • Ignore superstitions or "luck" strategies; they don't affect outcomes.

These guidelines can help maintain gambling as a form of fun without compromising financial or emotional well-being.

Recognizing the Signs of Problem Gambling

During March Madness it's crucial to be even more vigilant about gambling behaviors. The excitement and widespread participation in betting pools and online gambling can increase the risks of problematic gambling habits developing. Here are specific signs to watch out for during March Madness, along with tips for conducting self-assessments tailored to this event.

Signs of Potential Problem Gambling During March Madness

  • Excessive Betting on Games: Placing larger or more frequent bets on tournament games than one normally would or can afford.
  • Gambling on Every Game: Feeling a compulsion to bet on every single game, regardless of interest in the teams playing or knowledge of their performance.
  • Ignoring Financial Limits: Exceeding set budget limits for March Madness betting, leading to financial strain.
  • Chasing Losses with More Bets: Trying to recover losses from earlier games by increasing the size or frequency of bets, particularly as the tournament progresses.
  • Using March Madness as an Escape: Turning to gambling on the tournament as a way to escape from personal problems, stress, or negative emotions.
  • Neglecting Work or Personal Responsibilities: Skipping work, school, or family obligations to watch games and track bets.
  • Hiding Betting Activities: Being secretive about the extent of gambling activities related to March Madness with friends and family.
  • Feeling Anxious or Irritable: Experiencing anxiety or irritability related to betting on the tournament, especially if unable to place a bet.
  • Borrowing Money to Continue Betting: Taking loans or using credit to sustain betting activities throughout the tournament.
  • Justifying Excessive Gambling as a Seasonal Activity: Rationalizing problematic gambling behavior as acceptable because "it's March Madness."

Self-Assessment Tips During March Madness

  • Monitor Your Betting: Keep a detailed record of your bets, including amounts, the outcomes of games, and how you felt about those bets. This can help you identify patterns of problematic gambling.
  • Set Clear Boundaries: Before the tournament starts, decide on a budget for betting and a limit on the number of games you'll bet on. Stick to these limits.
  • Evaluate Your Motivations: Reflect on why you're betting on March Madness. Is it for fun, or are you trying to make up for losses or escape stress?
  • Consider the Impact: Regularly assess how your gambling behavior is affecting your financial situation, relationships, and emotional well-being.
  • Ask for Feedback: Discuss your betting habits with a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes, external perspectives can provide insights into behaviors you might not have recognized as problematic.

Leveraging Responsible Gambling Features

Responsible gambling is an essential principle that underpins a healthy and sustainable approach to betting. Nowadays, many sportsbooks have embraced the responsibility to support their users in maintaining control over their gambling habits. This commitment is reflected in the implementation of various tools and features designed to promote a safe gambling environment. 

Deposit LimitsTo control the amount of money deposited into a betting account.Prevents overspending and helps maintain a gambling budget.
Bet LimitsTo limit the amount wagered on individual bets or over time.Reduces the risk of large, impulsive bets and helps manage spending.
Time LimitsTo restrict the duration of gambling sessions.Encourages balance with other activities and reduces the risk of gambling fatigue.
Self-ExclusionTo temporarily block access to betting platforms.Provides an opportunity for reflection and a break from gambling, aiding in recovery efforts.
Reality ChecksTo provide timely reminders during gambling sessions.Helps bettors maintain awareness of their gambling behavior and time spent gambling.
Loss LimitsTo set a maximum amount that can be lost within a specified period.Limits potential financial harm by capping losses, encouraging more cautious betting.
Access to Gambling HistoryTo view detailed records of gambling transactions.Allows users to review their gambling activity and spending, promoting self-awareness and reflection.
Cool-off PeriodsTo enable a short break from gambling activities.Offers a temporary respite for users to cool off before resuming gambling, helping to prevent rash decisions.
Financial TrackerTo track spending and wins/losses over time.Assists in financial planning and monitoring, highlighting the impact of gambling on finances.
Customizable AlertsTo set personalized notifications for various activities.Enhances control over gambling habits by alerting users to session lengths, spending limits, and more.
Support ServicesTo provide access to professional help and resources.Offers assistance and guidance for users experiencing difficulties with their gambling habits.

These tools collectively contribute to a robust framework for responsible gambling, empowering users to engage in betting activities with greater awareness and control. By implementing these features, betting platforms not only promote the well-being of their users but also foster a more sustainable and ethical gambling environment. Bettors need to familiarize themselves with these tools and resources, utilizing them as needed to support their responsible gambling efforts.

Enjoying March Madness Beyond Betting

March Madness captivates college basketball fans and even casual observers every spring with its blend of dramatic upsets, buzzer-beaters, and the sheer joy of competition. While betting on the games is a popular way to engage with the tournament, there are numerous other avenues to enjoy March Madness that can enhance your experience without placing a wager. Below are expanded ideas and examples on how to immerse yourself in the excitement of the tournament:

March Madness Viewing Parties

  • Host a Themed Viewing Party: Gather friends and family for a March Madness viewing party at your home. Decorate your space with team colors, basketball-themed decorations, and serve snacks shaped like basketballs. It's a fun way to enjoy the games and support your favorite teams together.
  • Virtual Watch Parties: In situations where you can't be physically together, organize a virtual watch party using online conferencing tools. Share your screen to watch the game live, and enjoy the communal spirit of cheering for your teams from afar.

Engaging in Discussions

  • Join Online Forums: Participate in online communities or social media groups dedicated to college basketball. These forums are great places to share predictions, analyze games, and discuss the performances of different teams and players throughout the tournament.
  • Podcasts and Blogs: Follow March Madness-themed podcasts and blogs for in-depth analysis, behind-the-scenes stories, and expert opinions. Contributing to the comment sections or social media discussions can be a way to engage with content creators and other fans.

Free Bracket Challenges

  • Office Pools for Fun: Organize a bracket challenge at your workplace or with a group of friends where the focus is on bragging rights or non-monetary prizes, such as the winner getting a trophy or having their lunch paid for by the group.
  • Online Bracket Challenges: Many websites host bracket challenges that offer prizes based on how accurately participants can predict the tournament outcomes. Look for challenges that are free to enter and offer rewards like merchandise, gift cards, or even a trip. You can find a free printable RG Bracket and test your skills.

Other Ways to Enjoy March Madness

  • Attend Local Viewing Events: Check out local sports bars or community centers hosting March Madness events. These venues often have multiple games showing simultaneously, creating an electrifying atmosphere to watch with fellow fans.
  • Playing Basketball: Get into the spirit of March Madness by playing basketball. Whether it's shooting hoops by yourself, playing a pickup game with friends, or participating in a local tournament, playing basketball can be a great way to connect with the game on a personal level.
  • Educational Activities for Kids: If you have children, use March Madness as an opportunity to teach them about teamwork, geography (learning about the different schools and where they're located), and math (keeping score or calculating statistics).

Final Thoughts

March Madness transcends mere sports entertainment, embodying a period where passion for college basketball unites fans across the nation. This tournament is not just about the thrill of the game; it’s a cultural phenomenon that fosters a sense of community and shared excitement. When it comes to engaging in betting, adopting a thoughtful and measured approach can significantly amplify the pleasure derived from following the event. Mindful betting practices are more than precautionary measures; they are avenues through which fans can deepen their connection to the essence of March Madness, ensuring their participation contributes positively to the collective experience.

Enhancing the March Madness Experience Through Responsible Betting

  • Embrace the Spirit Beyond the Stakes: Remember, the heart of March Madness lies in the stories of underdogs, the drama of last-second shots, and the camaraderie among fans. Betting should enhance these moments, not overshadow them. Engage with the tournament in a way that prioritizes appreciation for the sport and its capacity to bring people together.
  • Educate and Inform: Use the opportunity to learn more about the nuances of college basketball, the history of the tournament, and the journey of the teams and players. This broader perspective can make betting choices more informed and add layers to the enjoyment of the games, irrespective of the betting outcomes.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in discussions, whether in online forums, social media, or in-person gatherings, focusing on the narratives of the tournament rather than just the bets. This can foster a sense of belonging and shared experience that is invaluable.

Mindful Betting as Part of the March Madness Tradition

  • Set and Respect Boundaries: Establish clear limits for betting, both in terms of finances and time. Stick to these boundaries as a way to honor not just personal well-being but also the integrity of the tournament as a celebration of athleticism and teamwork.
  • Celebrate Responsibly: Recognize the wins, both big and small, without letting the outcome of bets detract from the enjoyment of the games. Celebrate the effort of the teams and the community spirit that March Madness embodies, reinforcing the positive aspects of sportsmanship and support.
  • Learning from Losses: View losses as part of the broader March Madness journey, reflecting on the unpredictability that makes the tournament so captivating. This mindset can help maintain a healthy perspective on betting as one aspect of the tournament experience, not the defining feature.

As March Madness unfolds, the collective enthusiasm and spirit of the fans become palpable, turning every play and every game into a shared moment of exhilaration. By engaging in betting with a mindset anchored in responsibility and appreciation for the tournament, fans not only protect themselves against potential pitfalls but also contribute to a more positive and inclusive March Madness culture. Let’s embrace this celebration of college basketball with the mindfulness it deserves, cherishing every dribble, every shot, and every victory march as part of a beloved annual tradition.

Responsible March Madness FAQs

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Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed numerous articles and reviews to various online platforms, sharing his knowledge and perspectives.

Central to Sol's approach is his dedication to honesty, especially regarding sports betting platforms. He believes in providing bettors with straightforward and detailed reviews, distinguishing his work by avoiding the often overly positive spin on bonus offers and promotions. His commitment to truthfulness has made his reviews a reliable source for those seeking authentic advice and information, thereby earning him a reputation for integrity among his readers.

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Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG


Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.


Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike Rosenberg
Mike Rosenberg
Content Writer

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.