head of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers kicking off the 2016 NFL season this week, the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimated that fans across the country will bet $90 billion on NFL and college football games this season. However, $88 billion – or 98 percent – of all bets will be made illegally thanks to a federal government ban.In a sign of how serious the problem of illegal gambling has become, more than 30 law enforcement leaders from across the country gathered in June for the first-ever Law Enforcement Summit in Washington, D.C. to better understand the massive illegal sports betting market in the U.S and what steps can be taken to address it.
“The American appetite for sports betting has never been greater,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO.
“Unfortunately, a failing federal ban drives this national pastime into the illegal market and threatens the integrity of the games we love," Mr. Freeman stated
As law enforcement’s deep concern with the thriving illegal gambling market demonstrates, it is time to address this problem and bring sports betting out of the shadows.”
In a statement released last week, the AGA highlighted "momentum continues to grow for a new approach to sports betting law."
"Research released before last season’s big game found that 80 percent of Super Bowl viewers want to change current sports betting law, and two-thirds (66 percent) believe states should decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.
"Further, 41 percent of Super Bowl viewers – 47 million people – have bet on the Super Bowl at some point, according to research conducted by The Mellman Group. An equal number say they have placed some type of sports bet in the past year. That’s nearly three times the number of people who attended every NFL game last season (17.3 million).
"In addition to fans, support for a new approach to sports betting continues to gain support from key stakeholders. The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) this summer took a major step in support of rooting out the thriving illegal market by unanimously passing a resolution making clear their desire to address illegal sports betting through regulation. The USCM pledged to work with AGA to lead national discussions on the potential benefits of the regulated market and help identify platforms to protect city revenues.
"Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures last month passed a policy directive saying, 'the federal government must recognize the sovereignty of states to allow or to prohibit sports gambling by its residents… The federal ban instituted under the PASPA has not prevented the conduct of illegal sports gambling, but has in effect restricted the ability of all but a few states to regulate and collect revenue from sport gambling wagers estimated to be in the billions of dollars each year, to the detriment of state economies.'
"Pennsylvania lawmakers also passed a resolution recently calling on Congress to repeal, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which is responsible for the federal ban. New York has expressed a desire to take similar action."