March 15, 2016
By Luke Kerr-Dineen
The hypocrisy on this subject never ceases to amaze me: Lawmakers run around pretending that betting on sports is illegal (which it technically is) and condemning daily fantasy sports for actually trying to operate within the rules, yet all that accomplishes is pushing billions and billions of gambling money underground. As someone who spent the first half of their life in England — where betting on sports is legalized, regulated and taxed — it’s all very strange.
But anyway, with that miniature rant out of the way: According to a new report from the American Gaming Association, more than 70 million people in America — more than the total number of people who will vote in the next election — are expected to spend north of $9 billion betting on March Madness this year, which is about two billion dollars more than the entire GDP of Fiji:
The American Gaming Association (AGA) is estimating that Americans will wager $9.2 billion on March Madness this year. The number marks an increase from 2015, when fans and casual observers alike bet $9 billion, through office pools, Nevada sports books, illicit offshore sites and illegal bookies.
And how much of that is illegal?
Of the $9.2 billion that will be wagered this year, only about $262 million will be bet legally at Nevada sports books. The total illegal sports betting market in the United States grew to $148.8 billion in 2015.
Original article: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/03/americans-are-going-to-bet-an-absurd-amount-of-money-on-march-madness