The illegal betting numbers rise because of the country's sports betting laws.
The AGA said that 10 percent of American adults, or almost 24 million people, reported spending almost $3 billion collectively in the past year on college basketball pools alone. A legal analysis commissioned by the AGA, a Washington, D.C. -based lobbying group representing the casino industry, found that real-money sports pools, including NCAA tournament bracket pools, are "generally illegal" in 37 of 50 states.
One of the most popular weeks-long sports betting events in America kicks off this month, just as the U.S. Supreme Court readies itself to rule on a federal law pertaining to the activity. Enforcing those laws, however, has not been a priority for law enforcement. "The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments".
Freeman said only 3 percent of the $10 billion the group predicts will be wagered on the games will be done through legal Nevada sports books, or about $300 million.
The American Gaming Association reports in its release that there are 48 pieces of sports betting legislation now spread across 18 states.
"There's a lot of money that's going to go to innovation that's now sitting on the sidelines", he said.
"The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision on New Jersey's challenge to PASPA's overreach in the coming months, potentially enabling an expansion of legalized sports betting", the AGA said.
"Sports betting may have more appeal to our children, it has the potential to affect the integrity of the games, and it may put many more people at risk for problem and disordered gambling", said Neva Pryor, the group's executive director.