Industry: $10B will be bet on March Madness, most illegally

Xavier's Naji Marshall (13) drives past Providence's Rodney Bullock (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big East men's tournament semifinals last Friday. Xavier is a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.  [AP Photo/Frank Franklin II]
Xavier's Naji Marshall (13) drives past Providence's Rodney Bullock (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big East men's tournament semifinals last Friday. Xavier is a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. [AP Photo/Frank Franklin II]
Published March 12
Updated March 12

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — America’s gambling industry predicts $10 billion will be bet on the March Madness college basketball tournament — nearly all of it illegally or off-the-books.

That’s one of the reasons the American Gaming Association favors the full legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States.

The group found 54 million people — or about a quarter of the U.S. adult population — participated in a sports betting pool last year.

The U.S. Supreme Court is weeks away from ruling on New Jersey’s challenge to a law limiting legal sports betting to just four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

AGA President Geoff Freeman says only 3 percent of the $10 billion the group predicts will be wagered on the games will be done through legal Nevada sports books.

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