If you’re at all familiar with the gambling industry, you know that Premier League wagering is an absolutely massive business. But did you know that particular vertical is worth about $1 billion in wagers every game?

All those wagers are producing a mountain of revenue for bookmakers and sports betting affiliates, as well as some serious questions from industry watch dog groups like the International Centre for Sport Security.

The Quatar-based group recently told a French newspaper that the problem isn’t simply the amount of money spent on Premier League wagering, it’s the amount of money spent on illegal sports wagering.

In an interview with Agence France Presse, as reported on by Calvinyre.com the group’s executive director Chris Eaton elaborated on exactly how huge that black market has become:

The global sports betting economy is four times larger than the sports economy itself. And none of that, in and of itself, is an issue. A transparent, strictly monitored, well-regulated betting economy poses little threat to the integrity of sport. However, our current system is the opposite: opaque, ignored and far from well-regulated.

Eaton goes on to say that approximately 80% of all Premier League wagering is done through illegal channels. Not only does that rob tax dollars from national coffers, it also creates incentives for game fixing and other illegal activities.

In Eaton’s view, there’s only way to keep Premier League wagering on the up and up; legalization saying:

A bet on a strong international regulatory system for legalized betting is guaranteed to ensure the integrity, transparency and fairness of the sport. That’s the only sure winner.

Whether world governments, especially in Asia where much of the off-the-books Premier League wagering originates, will listen.

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