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With Sports Betting Finally Legal In New Jersey, Gamblers Figure To Wager A Lot Of Money On NCAA Tournament

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- On Selection Sunday we find out which 68 college basketball teams will take part in the March Madness tournament.

Some from our area made the cut, and for the first time fans in New Jersey can legally bet on who will win, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported.

College basketball fans will finally get to put their money where their mouths are.

Sports betting N.J.
Legalized sports betting in New Jersey (Photo: CBS2)

"I kinda already knew that Michigan State would pull it out," Piscataway's Mike Washington said, referring to the Spartans' win over rival Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday. "I dropped $100 on it. It was a good win."

The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford is one of several Garden State spots open for legalized sports betting.

Gambling industry officials predict the volume of bets on the tournament will surpass the Super Bowl, which led New Jersey gamblers to spend more than $320 million on sporting events in February.

"Final Four, like i said I have a lot of future bets already in," said Jack Rovello of Dobbs Ferry, New York. "I'd love to see Syracuse or St. John's (make a run). I mean, I'd win a lot of money if that happens."

MORE: Enter The College Basketball Bracket Challenge

Revenues aren't coming from just gambling in person. People can also place their bets online.

The Associated Press reports across New Jersey online and mobile sports betting revenue accounted for four times the amount of money wagers in person. Overall, nearly $2 billion have been spent on sports betting in the nine months since it became legalized.

"(The tournament) brings America together, I think," said Donald Dinele of Kinnelon, New Jersey. "We've got three weeks of great basketball."

And for March Madness, even more excitement is building because four local schools have earned a bid to the tournament -- St. John's, Seton Hall, Iona and Fairleigh Dickinson.

"Iona College has got a pretty good basketball team and I hope they go pretty far in the tournament," said Paul Cancro of Bayonne.

"I'm from Jersey, a Jersey boy. I gotta root for Seton Hall," said Roy Earnes of South Orange. "I was ecstatic. I want them to make it. That's my team."

But now, it's not just your heart on the line; it's your wallet, too.

There's a catch for gamblers rooting for the New Jersey teams. No bets are allowed on games involving New Jersey colleges or any college events that take place in the Garden State.

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