The NCAA logo on the court at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)

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Gambling Industry Anticipates $10 Billion Will Be Bet on March Madness Tourney

It’s expected only 3 percent of the money will be wagered through legal sports books.

Before March Madness kicked off in 2017, about 24 million Americans filled out brackets and spent nearly $2.6 billion on entry fees.

Given that it is illegal to participate in sports betting pools if money is involved in two-thirds of U.S. states, the majority of those Americans were technically breaking the law.

It’s anticipated that even more U.S. residents will go afoul of the law this year to bet on the NCAA basketball tournament as the American Gaming Association predicts $10 billion will be wagered on the Big Dance in 2018.

Of that projected $10 billion, the AGA predicts only 3 percent (about $300 million) will be wagered legally at Nevada sports books. That’s one of the reasons the group is in favor of legalizing sports betting throughout the United States.

“Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we’re turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball,” AGA president and CEO Geoff Freeman told The AP.  “The failed federal ban on sports betting has created an illegal, unregulated sports betting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenue for state and tribal governments.”

Read the full story at The Associated Press