NCAA Tournament: Estimated $10 billion to bet on March Madness

March Madness 2018: $10 Billion Expected To Be Bet On NCAA Tournament

March Madness 2018: $10 Billion Expected To Be Bet On NCAA Tournament

Houston guard Rob Gray, front left, grabs a rebound in front of Cincinnati forward Gary Clark during the first half of a NCAA college basketball championship game at the American Athletic Conference tournament, in Orlando, Fla., on March 11.

According to an estimate by The American Gaming Association, Americans are expected to bet $10 billion on the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. America's gambling industry predicts $10 billion will be bet on the March Madness college basketball tournament - almost all of it illegally or off-the-books.

According to ESPN, 24 million Americans participated in NCAA Tournament pools previous year, spending more $2.6 billion, while nearly a quarter of American adults engaged in some sort of paid-entry pool. That includes 24 million who filled out basketball brackets pools and spent $2.6 billion on entry fees. Enforcing those laws, however, has not been a priority for law enforcement.

"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", said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association.

A 1992 federal law banned traditional sports betting outside of the Silver State, and that's precisely what the casino industry wants to have struck down. Of that total, 97% will be bet via illegal sportsbooks and other illicit methods, compared to just $300 million through legal sportsbooks in Nevada. "Meanwhile, 48 pieces of sports betting legislation are active in 18 states, as legislatures across the country prepare to take advantage of this opportunity".

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey says "sports betting is a cause for concern".

Almost 25 percent of the USA adult population admitted to participating in a sports betting pool in 2017.

As the AGA points out, the prevalence of illegal gambling surrounding the NCAA Tournament can make it seem silly that sports betting is so strictly regulated.

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