The American Gaming Association (AGA) has claimed that the majority of the $95bn it expects to be wagered on NFL and college football games this season will be bet illegally.
Following the kick-off of the NFL season on Thursday, the AGA anticipates that $93bn worth of illegal wagers will be placed on football, while just under $2bn will be bet at legal sportsbooks in Nevada.
A total of $3.8bn worth of illicit bets were made during last season’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks – an amount 38 times greater than the total bet legally.
Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana are the four US states exempt from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which bans betting on sporting events.
Geoff Freeman, chief executive of the AGA, said: “Illegal sports betting is reaching new heights of popularity in America.
“It’s clear that a federal ban on traditional sports betting outside of Nevada is failing.”
The AGA’s ‘Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe' initiative was launched in April, seeking to distinguish the $240bn legal gaming industry – which the AGA claims supports 1.7m jobs – from “the criminal networks that rely on illegal gambling to fund violent crimes and drug and human trafficking”.
June saw the debut of the AGA’s Illegal Gambling Advisory Board as part of the initiative.