The 2018 Super Bowl will take place this weekend, with illegal sports betting at the forefront as America awaits the outcome of the Supreme Court sports betting case.
The Philadelphia Eagles will take on the New England Patriots on February 2, with Nevada sportsbooks expecting a record-breaking amount of wagers to be made, totalling more than $USD138.5 million.
But according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), that amount is just a small percentage of what will be wagered by the whole of America, with US bettors set to spend $4.76 billion on the NFL sports betting markets.
The AGA added offshore bookmakers would take 97 percent of the bets.
Under current law, Nevada is one of the four states where bookmakers can accept sports bets from residents. The rest of the US failed to change states laws before the enactment of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992.
The state of New Jersey has been attempting to allow sports betting at its racetracks and casinos, not without several legal challenges mounted by the major sporting leagues.
Last year, the Supreme Court heard the arguments to overturn PASPA and allow individual states to legalise sports betting, with a decision set to be handed down before June 2018.
Unfortunately, it won’t be in time for the Super Bowl LII.
“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,” AGA President Geoff Freeman said in a press release.
“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?”
While several sporting leagues have become more open to the idea of legalising sports betting, with the NBA supporting the legislative change provided one percent of every bet goes to the sporting industry, the NFL has maintained its stance against sportsbooks.
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, recently expressed his concern about the ban being potentially lifted, given all signs are pointing to a favourable outcome.
Goodell spoke to ESPN Radio this week, stating that he is predominantly concerned with the potential threat to the integrity of pro football.
“You want to be certain that there are no outside influences on our game and that fans don’t even have any issue with that, they understand, whether there’s a perception or not, that there’s no influence in our game,” he said.
“And that’s something that we stand firmly behind on the integrity of our game.”
But the AGA says that sports betting will happen regardless, and it’s better to regulate to have the appropriate bodies in place to deal with external factors which could threaten the integrity of sports.
“As President-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged, illegal sports betting is a thriving industry,” Freeman said.
“The 24-year-old federal ban – which is breathing life into a $150 billion illegal sports betting market — threatens the integrity of games, presents fundamental questions about states’ sovereignty to define their own laws and combat crime within their borders, and prevents fans from engaging with the sports they enjoy in a safe, legal way.”
The AGA is urging the Supreme Court to consider NJ’s arguments, stating it will allow every US state to “address the serious problems associated with illegal sports betting.”