Super Bowl 51 is just three days away, yet Las Vegas sports books are already bracing for all of the action. The calm before the storm is at hand. It is incredible how many people love to wager on this one single event every year. From coast to coast, millions of people will be tuned in to watch this one NFL game – and 67 percent of everyone watching will also be wagering on it in one way, shape or form.
So just how much money will be on the table when the Patriots and Falcons kick off this Sunday?
Only about 5 billion.
According to a FOX Business report, this year’s Super Bowl clash between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will draw $4.7 billion in total wagers, according to estimates from the American Gaming Association, a lobbying firm that represents the casino industry. If those numbers are accurate, the 2017 Super Bowl will break the record of the most wagered on NFL game, which happened to be last year’s Super Bowl between the Broncos and Panthers.
In 2016, Super Bowl 50 took in $4.2 billion in wagering. This year that number is expected to increase by 11 percent.
The American Gaming Association estimates that just $132 million of Super Bowl bets this year will be made legally at Nevada sportsbooks. The remaining $4.5 billion will be wagered illegally, through local bookmakers and other methods.
So, why isn’t the government finally making it legal to wager on sports in all 50 states?
AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman thinks this move is long overdue, and he is right.
“As we mark the 25th anniversary of a failed law, it’s time for Washington to get out of the way and lift the federal prohibition that pushes sports fans to a rapidly growing illegal betting market,” AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement.
“A regulated marketplace would generate tax revenue and jobs, protect consumers and leverage cutting-edge technology to strengthen the integrity of the games we all love.”
Nowadays almost all 50 states in the U.S. have multiple casinos, many different daily lotteries and several other ways for folks to wager their hard earned money. So why not add sports to the bill? The revenue that could be made on taxes would be incredible for the government, and folks who like to wager on sporting events would be able to instantly collect their winnings. Isn’t that what they call a “win-win” proposition?
Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been saying for years that sports gaming should be legalized here in the US, especially since it already is in the UK.
It is legal to wager on sports in only four states — Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. However, making it legal across the entire union and taxing the winnings would bring in tremendous revenue.
Many will argue that the integrity of the games will be impacted if sports wagering becomes legal across America. That simply isn’t true. In fact, sports wagering is legal and has been for some time in several countries overseas including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
While those places are obviously not in the U.S., it would be just as easy to ruin the integrity of a sport by simply having wagers made in those countries, especially considering the fact that many tennis stars and pro basketball and hockey players are from overseas.
How about fantasy sports?
All the popular fantasy sport games that are sweeping the nation are fun for fans, and it makes the games more interesting for those who love to play them.
It is also a form of gambling, isn’t it? Instead of hoping an individual team does well for you to win, fantasy sports is about hoping the players you select do well, thus the outcome is no different. So why are fantasy sports fine, but wagering $50 on the New York Yankees to win isn’t?
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]