US Illegal Sports Betting Sector Still Thriving According to New Analysis

  • Yield Sec found that nearly two-thirds of Super Bowl bets were illegal
  • It estimated that just $1.4bn of the $5.4bn bet on the game was legal
  • The AGA disputes these findings and believes the majority of bets were legit
Excited woman at sports bar
New analysis contends that almost two-thirds of all Super Bowl bets were illegal. [Image:]

A new analysis of the illegal sports betting sector in the US has thrown up some interesting insights, namely that nearly two-thirds of all wagers on the recent Super Bowl were placed illegally.

just $1.4bn of it went through legal sportsbooks

The data, gathered by research firm Yield Sec, suggests that the total sum bet on the Super Bowl by Americans was almost $5.4bn, but just $1.4bn of it went through legal sportsbooks. The company estimates that people placed 228 million of the 350 million bets through the black market.

These figures are different from the gambling industry’s findings. The American Gaming Association (AGA) stated that 77% of the online wagers on the last Super Bowl were legal.

One of the big reasons for legalizing sports betting in the US was to stop money from flowing to black market operators. Governments were losing out on tax dollars and funds were going to offshore companies and potentially organized crime groups. These illegal platforms also are havens for problem gamblers.

Derek Webb, founder of the pro-reform Campaign for Fairer Gambling which commissioned the analysis, believes that there was never evidence that a regulated sector would significantly curtail the black market. He compared it to how the legalization of cannabis in numerous states hasn’t done much to dampen the illegal markets for the drug.  

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