Americans bet $4.6B on Super Bowl, most of it illegally

Business News

The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates Americans wager approximately $4.76 billion on Super Bowl 52 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Due to a failed federal law, a staggering 97 percent of total wagers, equaling more than $4.6 billion, will be bet illegally across the United States.

Only 3 percent, or $138.5 million, of Super Bowl bets are expected to be legally wagered through licensed sports books in Nevada, the only state exempted from the federal ban on full-scale sports betting.

“Thanks to the failed federal ban on sports betting, Americans are sending billions of their hard-earned dollars to corner bookies, shady offshore operators and other criminal enterprises,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “The big question we’re asking: Is 2018 finally the year when governments, sporting bodies and the gaming industry work together to put the illegal sports betting market out of business?”

The Supreme Court took an important first step in addressing the illegal sports betting market when it heard Christie v. NCAA in December 2017. The case is a challenge to the failed Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and will likely lead to the law being declared unconstitutional or Congress revisiting its approach to sports wagering.

Last week, the National Basketball Association (NBA) joined the gaming industry in supporting the elimination of PASPA. The NBA also called for the government to mandate a 20 percent payment to the leagues on all legal betting revenue, before state taxpayers receive any proceeds.

“The NBA is an important stakeholder and we are pleased to see their active engagement,” said Freeman. “Unfortunately, their proposal would replace a failed federal law with bad state policy – robbing law enforcement, regulators and state taxpayers of additional resources. Eliminating the illegal market is in the public interest – and it is incumbent on each stakeholder to prove how their proposals achieve that critical objective.”