The Most Popular Sports for Illegal Gambling (part 1)

Posted: July 29, 2015

Updated: July 29, 2015

A look at the sports that are most often waged on for illegal gambling.

Although it is against US gambling laws, many people in the United States gamble illegally for money. Events like the Super Bowl tend to convert many into office, pub and living room gamblers placing wages with their friends and colleagues. Many people tend to wage while performing some sports such as darts and billiards. Even during March Madness when millions of Americans fill out those brackets in offices it’s illegal.

● Gambling is so rampant, congress considering legalizing sports gambling
● College football betting is driven by grads who learned to gamble in college
● March Madness makes up 25 percent of all money wagers on college basketball

Hundreds of billions of dollars are invested by people for the purposes of illegal gambling every year. Gambling has become so rampant, there’s serious legislation occurring in congress regarding legalization of sports gambling. The major argument is that if it’s legal, at least “Uncle Sam” can get his fair share of the winnings. Let’s take a look at the sports that people tend to illegally gamble on the most.

Football, football and more football lead the America’s gambling thirst

The National Football League might have the longest history out all the sports for illegal gambling. College football was very popular throughout most of the 19th century in the United States and football began to take over in the 1960’s. This is the sport that made handicappers like Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder a household name. In fact, televised shows like NFL today on American television made “the line” and “the spread” house hold words during the 1970’s and 80’s.

Johnny Manziel Browns

There’s a lot of money going around the NFL

Professional sports handicapper and gambling strategist Wayne Allyn Root said “there’s no coincidence that the number one sport to watch is the number one sport to bet on. The betting literally drives the viewership, and the heavy betting on football is driven by the fact that it’s on television. They are synergistic. And what drives all of it? The point spread. Without the point spread, no one is betting or watching.”

Out of all the money that is wagered on football for illegal gambling, 10 percent of it is wagered on the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is iconic and an ingrained part of our society. Since gambling is also a part of American culture, that and the Super Bowl go together like “peanut butter and jelly.” Root said “The Super Bowl has become an American national holiday- a betting holiday.”

Root goes on to explain the consequence of America’s focus on this event. “That is why it is the most-watched television event of the year. Take away the money, and it’s just another sporting event. But with USD 6 to USD 10 billion changing hands, it’s a life-changing event. The NFL is definitely king of gambling and the Super Bowl is the crowning event of the football season.” The Super Bowl defines US gambling news.

College football and basketball are not far behind the NFL

Sports betting in Las Vegas

In most states it is illegal to make sports bets altogether

When in doubt what would be the next most popular sport for illegal gambling besides professional football, think college football. From the early days of Universities when students use to play football as a club activity, college football got attention. Soon people started to gather around as they would watch the colleges they went to compete with each other. Today, many people who went to Universities have a connection to college football.

It is no surprise that college football isn’t far behind its professional counterpart. Root said “Betting is driven by college graduates who learned to bet on sports while attending colleges with great football rivalries like Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Notre Dame, USC, etc. If you attended those colleges, and you enjoy gambling, it’s natural for you to bet college football for the rest of your life.”

College basketball got its initial start after the Great Recession in the 1930’s. Its popularity at one point outweighed college football. As seen in competition between colleges, Americans feel a similarity when it comes to basketball. And of course, where there is a rivalry between colleges, there has to be a rivalry between peoples’ wallets and their money. Betting drives college basketball.

March Madness or the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Tournament makes up 25 percent of all the money wagered on college basketball. The three-week single elimination tournament is followed by offices all over America. As the only event making gambling news in America, people get empty brackets and fill out their choices every year. This illegal betting is considered a normal part of American culture.

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