The American Gaming Association has released their estimate on how much Americans will be wagering on the upcoming Super Bowl 50. The Denver Broncos will meet the Carolina Panthers and with top players competing, fans are expected to spend as much as $4.2 billion when wagering. This amount is up more than 8% from last year.

According to the figures, almost 97% of the wagers, around $4.1 billion, will be done so illegally. This is a far cry from the legal $115 million wagered on the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks game in 2015, in a legal setting. The illegal market has been found to be 35 times greater than the legal one.

The CEO and President of the AGA, Geoff Freeman, commented on the recent findings, stating that as Americans celebrate the milestone known as the Super Bowl, the fans will wager a record amount on the Big Game. Sports betting has never been so popular and the casino gaming industry is leading the conversation as to how a new approach to sports betting is needed, and would enhance consumer protections, strengthen the integrity of sports games, as well as take into account the desire by fans to be more engaged in the game.

The findings showed that Americans wagered $149 billion on sports last year which was an increase from the $145 billion wagered in 2014. Before last year’s Super Bowl, the AGA released an estimate for the very first time that fans would wager as much as $3.8 billion in illegal wagers on the Super Bowl.

In late 2015, the Board of Directors for the AGA decided to issue recommendations that would mark a big shift in the approach to sports betting in the industry. This was done after deliberation and studying for several months. A broad coalition is being created that will determine if a rational alternative to the current law of sports betting in the US actually exists. An alternative could include consumer protections, strict regulations and tools to be used by law enforcement to eliminate illegal wagering of sports betting.

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