Ahead of last week’s kick-off to the 2016 NFL season, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released a new estimate that fans across the country will bet $90 billion on NFL and college football games this season.
“However, $88 billion – or 98 percent – of all bets will be made illegally thanks to a federal government ban,” the AGA’s announcement reads.
Illegal betting reached $4.1 billion on Super Bowl 50 earlier this year, the AGA says.
In 2015, fans bet at least $150 billion on all sports. In a sign of how serious the problem of illegal gambling has become, more than 30 law enforcement leaders from across the country gathered in June for the first-ever Law Enforcement Summit in Washington, D.C. to better understand the massive illegal sports betting market in the U.S and what steps can be taken to address it.
“The American appetite for sports betting has never been greater,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. “Unfortunately, a failing federal ban drives this national pastime into the illegal market and threatens the integrity of the games we love. As law enforcement’s deep concern with the thriving illegal gambling market demonstrates, it is time to address this problem and bring sports betting out of the shadows.”