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    Americans to Wager More than $4.6 Billion Illegally on Super Bowl 52

    Press Release
    January 30, 2018

    Washington, D.C. – The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates Americans will 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.”


    • On December 4, 2017 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Christie v. NCAA, which challenges the constitutionality of PASPA. The Court is expected to issue a decision on the case in the coming months.
    • AGA filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court detailing the impacts of the failing federal sports betting ban. The brief highlighted the thriving $150 billion illegal sports betting market in the U.S.
    • At least 14 states have active sports betting-related legislation, with more expected to introduce bills throughout 2018.
    • According to a Washington Post survey 55% of Americans believe it is time to end the sports betting ban.

    For more information, visit americangaming.org.

    In coming up with its illegal gambling estimates on the Super Bowl, the AGA took the most conservative estimate of illegal sports betting activity ($80 billion per year) from the 1999 National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s Final Report. It applied GDP growth as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to make this current in 2017 dollars. Finally, the AGA assumed that the proportion of legal gambling activity on the Super Bowl at Nevada sports books is the best available indicator as to what proportion it might make up in the illegal market and applied this ratio to the larger illegal gambling figure.

    About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment. 

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