The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released a new report that examines the illegal gambling market. In this report, it is estimated that roughly $510.9 billion is bet illegally across the United States. This sum comes from unregulated sportsbooks, illegal iGaming sites, and skill games according to the AGA report.
AGA Examines Illegal Markets
The AGA report exposes an estimated $13.3 billion in tax revenue being lost to illegal operators. In contrast, the regulated betting market generated just $11.7 billion in tax revenue in 2021, showing how profitable illegal gambling is.
“Illegal and unregulated gambling is a scourge on our society, taking advantage of vulnerable consumers, skirting regulatory obligations and robbing communities of critical tax revenue for infrastructure, education and more,” said Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO. “We have always known that the illegal and unregulated market is expansive, but this report illuminates just how pervasive it is.”
Specifically, in regards to US sports betting, the AGA estimates approximately $63.8 billion is being wagered at illegal bookies and offshore sportsbook websites. This would have led to an additional $3.8 billion in gaming revenue and $700 million in sports betting state taxes.
A total of $100 billion is projected to be wagered legally in 2022. Combining these projections with the estimated illegal market reveals that close to 40% of the total sports betting market is taking place illegally.
Research also shows that 49% of players who placed a bet in previous years have wagered at an illegal sportsbook. 51% of bettors who wager at illegal sportsbooks believe they are betting legally. This stems from creative language being used by offshore sports betting operators.
What Is The Solution Against Illegal Markets?
With the findings from the AGA report, it is clear that illegal gambling operators affect a large chunk of the overall gambling market. The way to challenge this is through legislation. The AGA has reached out to legislators to be harsher on the illegal gambling industry for years.
However, until all 50 states have regulated sports betting and gambling, there will always be a market for illegal gambling. Locals want to wager and that is why offshore sportsbooks and iGaming sites profit billions.
As the US gambling market continues to expand, the market share that illegal operators have will diminish over time. For now, lawmakers must watch billions in potential tax revenue slip away.