Americans Wager $10 Billion on March Madness, 97 Percent Illegally
As March Madness, in the form of the NCCAA Basketball Tournament, descends on the United States Americans are set to wager more than $10 billion on office pools and traditional single game wagers. Unfortunately for the gambling industry, about 07 percent of that cash will bypass legal outlets entirely. But with the potential of legal sports betting on the horizon, is this the last year that gambling operators miss out on March Madness cash?
According to a recent report from the American Gaming Association (AGA), about 10 percent of all Americans, or about 24 million people, will participate in NCAA bracket pools involving a cash payout. This is despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of all US states prohibit this sort of activity.
Not surprisingly, AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman thinks this is a tad bit insane saying:
Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we’re turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball. The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments.
But given the fact that the US Supreme Court is getting ready to rule on whether or not states can offer single game wagering in a regulated environment, this could be the last March Madness that’s marked by widespread criminal activity. Should the high court rule in favor of New Jersey, as many as 48 states could be offering regulated sports betting, and March Madness pools in 2019.