Gaming association: Odds in favor of nationwide legalized sports betting

With the Supreme Court poised to take up the issue, the American Gaming Association sees legal sports betting coming to all states that want it.

AGA officials say they believe the Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue because they are going to overturn (the ban).

Sports betting is already legal in Nevada which has operated sports books for decades. But 14 states are looking at legislation that would legalize sports betting in some form.

AGA officials including President Geoff Freeman say the federal ban on legal books in every state except Nevada needs to go away. Until it does, he said, Americans will continue to send billions of dollars to “corner bookies, shady offshore operators and other criminal enterprises.”

He said it’s time governments, sports leagues and the gaming industry put the illegal bookies out of business.

The National Basketball Association, NBA, has dropped its adamant opposition to betting and joined the gaming industry in supporting elimination of that ban. But AGA officials say the NBA’s call for government to order gamblers to pay the league 1 percent off the top in taxes doesn’t make sense, that the industry’s profit margin is very slim, just 3 to 5 percent and taking 1 percent off the top completely obliterates any profitability.

They say taxing “to prevent integrity issues” would just incentivize folks to stay in the illegal market.

AGA officials say illegal sports betting in the U.S. is a $150 billion a year business. AGA analysts say they expect $4.76 billion to be bet on this coming Sunday’s 52nd SuperBowl between the Eagles and the Patriots.

While they estimated $138.5 million would be bet legally in Nevada, Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said that’s how much was bet last year and the total wagered, he said, increases pretty much every Superbowl.

The Supreme Court case Christie v. NCAA is seeking to have the Amateur Sports Betting Act that bars betting everywhere except Nevada declared unconstitutional. According to Bodman, AGA lawyers think the odds are strong that the high court will do just that.


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