Tuesday March 17,2015 : AMERICANS WILL SPLASH OUT $9 BILLION ON MARCH MADNESS THIS YEAR
And most of those bets on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's basketball tournament will be illegal.
Americans will bet more than $9 billion on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's basketball tournament this year, but the vast majority of those bets will be illegal, reports the publication Pennlive, quoting American Gaming Association figures.
The Association estimates that this vast sum will be wagered on 68 teams through 70 million brackets, but only $240 million will go through legal Nevada sports books. That's almost double the wagers placed on the Super Bowl.
And business estimates are that lost productivity due to the 4-day March Madness will top $1.2 billion this year.
The federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits sports fans from wagering on the tournament – or any big game – outside of Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, but that is being challenged by states like New Jersey, which would like to boost government revenues with an additional income stream
In Pennsylvania, there's a similar interest in legalised sports betting, although no firm steps forward have been taken – perhaps due to a political "wait-and-see" approach as the New Jersey challenge unfolds.
Last year, the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee estimated that legalised sports betting could bring in annual revenues of $137.7 million or $160.5 million, based on comparable figures from places where sports wagers are legal.
If online gambling – where more concrete political moves are taking place – was additionally legalised, the state could harvest a further $113 in taxes.