Report Reveals Two-Thirds of Super Bowl Bets Were Illegal, Highlighting Thriving Black Market

Quick Intro

The Super Bowl this month, set against the vibrant backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip, marked a significant milestone in online betting’s journey from an outlawed activity to a celebrated aspect of premier sports events. With the Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the San Francisco 49ers, millions of Americans were engaged in betting activities, highlighting the vast reach and acceptance of online sports betting today.

Legalization’s Impact on the Black Market

Despite the legalization movement’s argument that opening up sports betting would weaken illegal gambling platforms in the U.S., recent findings suggest a different reality. According to research by gambling analysis firm Yield Sec, a staggering two-thirds of bets placed on Super Bowl LVIII were through illegal channels. Out of the $5.37 billion wagered on the game, only $1.4 billion constituted legal bets. This suggests that the black market for online sports betting remains robust despite legalization efforts.

Legal vs. Illegal: A Persistent Challenge

The American Gaming Association (AGA) disputes these figures, highlighting research indicating a higher percentage of legal online sports bets. However, the challenge of quantifying illegal gambling activities, which have historically dominated the online betting scene, persists. Even if regulated platforms have captured a significant market share, the illegal segment still constitutes a considerable portion, posing risks and undermining state and local governments’ revenue and problem gambling initiatives.

Strategies to Combat Illegal Betting

The fight against the black market is multifaceted, requiring concerted efforts from government agencies, tech and media companies, payment processors, and legal gambling firms. To effectively combat illegal betting platforms, the AGA emphasizes the necessity of a collaborative approach to exclude bad actors from digital and financial ecosystems.

The Road Ahead

Experts express skepticism about the feasibility of completely eradicating the illegal betting market, drawing parallels to the ongoing presence of the black market in legalized cannabis states. The distinction between legal and illegal gambling platforms remains blurred for many consumers, especially younger ones, complicating efforts to steer them towards regulated options.

To weaken the black market’s appeal, legal operators are encouraged to offer superior betting platforms with competitive odds, compelling bettors to favor regulated markets. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of responsible gambling protections in the legal market varies, indicating that more work is needed to ensure it offers better safeguards than its illegal counterpart.

As the legal and illegal gambling markets continue to coexist, the industry’s stakeholders are tasked with not only promoting the benefits of legal betting but also enhancing consumer protections to foster a safer gambling environment.