Adding to the chorus of those calling for an end to the federal ban against sports betting is a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, issued as the country awaits March Madness.
Illegal sports betting has become so prevalent that “even former President Barack Obama openly discussed his bracket picks and admitted to gambling on the games,” said Michelle Minton, co-author of Time to End the Madness around March Madness. “Congress should repeal this prohibition and let states decide whether it makes sense to legalize sports gambling for their citizens.”
The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits sports gambling in most states. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, New York, South Carolina and West Virginia have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting this year while Mississippi, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Hawaii and North Carolina have expressed an interest in similar legislation.
Americans wagered an estimated $9 billion during March Madness in 2016, according to the report, and between $150 billion and $400 billion a year on all sports — about 95 percent to 99 percent illegally.