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AGA speaks out on illegal US sports betting industry

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has estimated that in excess of $10bn will be wagered by Americans in the upcoming 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Of that figure, however, only $300m, representing around 3 percent, will be wagered legally through Nevada sportsbooks, with it stated that “failed federal prohibition [is] making common criminals of millions of Americans.”

In addition, it also estimated that US nationals illegally bet approximately $150bn per year on sports, empowered by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), called a “a failed federal prohibition on single-game sports betting” in its statement.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is to deliver its verdict later this year on the Christie v NCAA case, which sees the state of New Jersey challenge PASPA’s constitutionality and has the potential to open up legal sports betting across the US.

Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association, commented: “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.

“As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of PASPA, AGA is focused on working with all stakeholders to put the illegal market out of business and enable a safe, legal way for American consumers to participate in next year’s office pool without fear of prosecution.”

The AGA details that 48 pieces of sports betting legislation are active in 18 states, as legislatures across the country prepare to take advantage of a potential roll out.

Last week New York became the latest state to introduce a bill relating to sports betting, which will be allowed to proceed should SCOTUS overturn PASPA.

Significantly bill S7900 contained an integrity fee compromise of 0.25 percent, with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) lobbying for 1 percent.

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