More than $1 billion will be wagered – both legally and illegally – on the Summer Olympic Games this month, and, for the first time in 16 years, Nevada sports books will accept bets on the Games in Brazil, highlighting how sports betting is more popular than ever.
“Nevada sports books accepting bets on the 2016 Summer Olympics offers yet another proof point that sports betting has become a pastime in the United States and beyond,” said Sara Rayme, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association (AGA). "With outdated barriers -- such as opposition to a franchise in Las Vegas -- falling rapidly, it’s clear that a new approach to sports betting will bring greater transparency and integrity to the games we all love to watch."
The United States Conference of Mayors recently took a major step in support of rooting out the thriving illegal market by unanimously supporting a resolution that seeks a new approach to sports betting in the United States. The Conference of Mayors will work with AGA to lead national discussions on the potential benefits of the regulated market and help identify platforms to protect revenues of cities.
Americans bet $4.2 billion on Super Bowl 50 and another $9.2 billion on March Madness this year. Americans have shown a tremendous interest in sports betting as a way to better connect with the teams they follow and further advance their interest in the game. However, with $149 billion wagered illegally on U.S. sports in 2015, the need for a legal, regulated sports betting market has never been greater.
The illegal sports betting market siphons tax revenue from state and local governments and fosters a violent underground market that fuels human trafficking and other violent crimes.
AGA has been proactively working to build a coalition of support in favor of a legal sports betting market. In addition to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, AGA has convened Law enforcement and some major sports leagues in support of legal wagering.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been an advocate of legal sports betting since 2014 when he wrote in the New York Times, “I believe sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”
This summer, the NHL announced it will expand and add a 31st team in Las Vegas, and it follows MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent remarks that Las Vegas is a “viable alternative” when it comes to expansion and that he “would not disqualify it just because of the gambling issue.”