HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 23Issue 5In Light of Super Bowl LI, AGA Releases Illegal Sports Betting Statement

On February 7, 2017, the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) stated that despite a record $138.48 million being bet at Nevada sports books on Super Bowl LI, a prominent illegal sports betting market remains. According to the AGA estimate, the illegal market makes up 97 percent, or $4.5 out of $4.7 billion, of Super Bowl LI betting.

“Even as Nevada sports books break records, the amount wagered legally pales in comparison to the thriving illegal market, in which fans just bet $4.5 billion on the big game,” said AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Sara Rayme. “After 25 years of a failing federal ban, it’s time for Congress to take a common sense approach to sports betting that generates revenue, protects consumers and helps fans engage with the games they enjoy.”

Enacted in 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) specifies Nevada as the only state that may offer traditional sports betting to consumers. However, according to the AGA, the sports betting market has grown more prevalent regardless of the 49-state ban and in 2016 alone, Americans wagered an estimate $154 billion on all sports via bookies and offshore websites.

“It’s clear that sports betting has never been more popular,” said AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “Nevada’s legal, regulated sports books are breaking records. TV and sports radio coverage feature talk of betting lines as much as of starting lineups.”

While PASPA is the only law adopted by Congress that restricts the states in legalizing a specific type of gambling, the Supreme Court may rule on its constitutionality in the near future. In 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law that was expected to legalize sports betting in the state but it has stalled due to several years of litigation. In January of this year the Supreme Court invited the U.S. Solicitor General to submit a brief regarding the New Jersey sports betting petition. Although the Supreme Court hears a miniscule percentage of cases it receives, New Jersey could soon have its case heard before the nation’s highest court.


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