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More people will bet, mostly illegally, on the Super Bowl this year

American Gaming Association graphic

The American Gaming Association has led the charge to get the nation’s sports-betting laws updated, and this week has the power of the Super Bowl behind it.

The AGA estimates Americans will bet $4.7 billion on Super Bowl LI on Sunday between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, an 11 percent increase over last year. And $4.5 billion in bets — or 97 percent — will be placed illegally under the federal law adopted in 1992.

Nevada is the only state in which traditional sports betting is allowed under federal law, and the AGA estimates about $132 million will be wagered through sports books there.

The $154 billion the AGA estimates was wagered on all sports in 2016 was mostly with bookies or offshore websites.

“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,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering hearing a case that could change sports betting. The court asked the U.S. Solicitor General to submit a brief in the New Jersey–led sports betting petition. The AGA previously submitted a brief urging the court to consider what the organization says is a failed and unconstitutional sports-betting ban.

“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,” Freeman said.

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