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Only 3% of estimated $10 billion wagered on NCAA to be legal

American Gaming Association

American Gaming Association

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has revealed that over $10 billion will be wagered in the NCAA basketball tournament. The problem however is that only 3 per cent of the total bets legal with only a handful of state condoning sports betting.

Betting on the National Collegiate Athletic Association has long been a bane of contention for universities across the United States, with the tournament featuring close to 70 of the best college team’s in the country.

But it does not look like going away with AGA revealing 24 million Americans took part in NCAA tournament pools in 2017, with much, much more going to offshore bookmakers. Tournament pools are estimated to account for $2.6 billion of bets placed, according to a survey by the Mellman Group.

The survey found that one-quarter of American adults took part in at least one form of the following bets:

  • Paid-entry pool
  • Bracket pools
  • Survivor pools
  • Pick ‘em pools
  • Squares or grid pools
  • Cash-based fantasy sports pools

In the survey, 1,501 respondents participated in distributed questionnaires. About 63 per cent of the respondents say they took part in pools because it was fun to do so, especially as it related to watching sports and following favorite teams and players.

It must however be pointed out that pools betting is illegal in many US with AGA making it clear that NCAA tournament bracket pools and sports pools where real money exchanges hands is largely illegal in 37 states. To underscore this fact, a big NFL survivor pool in New York was locked up in December last year and federal agents confiscated large cache of cash and business documents. Based in Washington DC, AGA represents the casino industry as a lobby group.

“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,” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, said in a release.

Sports betting is legal in Nevada and four other states but the US Supreme Court is currently looking into making it a legal activity.


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