Illegal wagers still worth $500bn per year in US, dwarfing regulated market

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has revealed that gamblers in the US wager more than $511bn each year – illegally.

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The frankly staggering sum is estimated to lose US states around $13bn in tax every year.

Sports betting makes up the smallest sum of illegal betting, worth approximately $63.8bn, while unregulated machines make up $109.2bn and online slots and table games generate $337.9bn.

The sums show how much potential exists in the US market for gambling companies, and AGA President and CEO Bill Miller commented on the news, saying: “Illegal and unregulated gambling is a scourge on our society, taking advantage of vulnerable consumers, skirting regulatory obligations and robbing communities of critical tax revenue for infrastructure, education and more.

“We have always known that the illegal and unregulated market is expansive, but this report illuminates just how pervasive it is.

“All stakeholders – policymakers, law enforcement, regulators, legal businesses – must work together to root out the illegal and unregulated gambling market. This is a fight we’re in for the long haul to protect consumers, support communities and defend the law-abiding members of our industry.”

The report also reveals that 52% of all players in America have only wagered money in illegal markets, with 18% playing in both legal and illegal channels.

For the first nine months of 2022, the AGA’s Commercial Revenue Tracker shown that the US has generated a total gross gaming revenue of $44.38bn. This is a figure that’s on course to beat 2021’s record $51bn – yet it is a number that pales in comparison to the illegal market’s figures.

This all shows how far regulated betting in the country still has to go.

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