Illegal March Madness Betting expected to be twice that of Super Bowl 50

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing risks of gambling on the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Each year more and more people view the event as a gambling activity, much like the Super Bowl. As another Selection Sunday puts the framework in place for this year’s tournament, its important to understand the dangers represented in the illegal gambling that follows. First and foremost, most of the gambling that takes place amounts to illegal gambling. A USAtody article points to reports of online pools that take an entry fee and award cash and prizes. These pools may seem harmless but FBI spokesman Ross Rice explained that, ‘“There could be a violation if there’s a payout and if the operators take a cut.” Second, the amount of people involved and the sum of money being gambled will be enormous. Forbes explains:

The trade group that represents [the] $240 billion U.S. casino industry estimates that Americans will wager $9.2 billion on March Madness this year, up from $9 billion last year. According to the AGA, that staggering number includes wagers through office pools, Nevada sports books, illicit offshore sites and illegal bookies. To place that $9.2 billion estimate in perspective, the AGA claimed that an estimated $4.1 billion was illegally wagered on Super Bowl 50.

So, how much betting is going on legally compared to illegally? More than you might think. According to the AGA, of the estimated $9.2 billion that will be bet this year in office pools, side wagers, and in casinos, only about $262 million will be bet legally at Nevada sports books.

Think about that. If $262 million flows through Nevada sports books, that means $8.938 billion is being bet elsewhere. According to the AGA, the total illegal sports betting market in the United States grew to $148.8 billion in 2015.

In terms of cost to employers, the Charlotte Observer points to a Chicago-based survey which says as much as $1.7 billion will be lost by employers in productivity, which breaks down to $109 million lost for every 10 minutes spent following the tournament. They believe there will be over 37 million workers participating in pools with 1.5 million watching games and results online from their desks.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION

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