Illegal Sports Betting Might Total $1.7 Billion Per Year

Legal sports betting has become the norm in much of the U.S. In the past few years, states have fully launched sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM with plenty of success. Nowadays, sports bettors from Arizona to Connecticut can place a wager on their favorite events from their phone without an issue. However, while legal sports betting is gaining steam and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, that doesn’t mean that illegal wagering doesn’t happen. According to a new report, there’s still major money in illicit sports gaming, and the numbers are significant when looking at the legitimate betting industry. Let’s take a look at the current situation with international illegal gambling and break down where and why so much money is being bet.

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Illegal Sports Betting Bringing In Up To $1.7 Billion a Year

According to a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, illegal sports betting is a major industry. The report states that anywhere from $340 billion to $1.7 billion is placed in illegal bets every year worldwide. This is a stark contrast to the current legal sports wagering industry, which accounts for roughly $40 billion in comparison. The biggest concern, of course, is the integrity of sports leagues across the world, with the report also suggesting that younger sports enthusiasts might also be discouraged by this secondary gambling market.

The main aim of the Global Report on Corruption in Sport, the very first of its kind, is to show the need for a major crackdown on the illegal gambling market. These findings urge anyone in positions of power to work with sports organizations to find a way to combat the methods in which these bets are placed. The report points out anonymity as a huge issue, as payment methods such as cryptocurrency allow for incognito transactions that can be made internationally.

Who Is Placing all These Illegal Bets?

While there isn’t a full breakdown of the illegal betting money, one culprit is getting quite a bit of attention: money laundering. There are also some suggestions that a specified unit that focuses on money laundering operations could help to quell the massive amounts of money spent on illegal gambling. With a possible $1.7 trillion being placed illegally every year, that might be easier said than done.

More Legal Options Are Coming

The good news is that there are plenty of upcoming launches for legal sports wagering, which will undoubtedly cut into the illicit market. New York and Ontario are both preparing their respective areas for legal wagering, with many expecting a rollout by early 2022. Maryland just saw the launch of legal retail sports wagering, and online betting is looking to follow suit soon. And, while its situation is currently in limbo, Florida may see a return to legal sports wagering next year, despite the obstacles currently in the way. As more and more legal sportsbooks begin operating, illegal operations should dwindle as bettors gravitate towards more secure, safe forms of gaming.

Anthony Elio is a CU Boulder graduate with a degree in creative writing and advertising. He is the lead Industry Betting Writer at Lineups.com, where he has spent over a year covering industry news in sports betting, casino, and poker.

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