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AGA Report: U.S. Illegal Gambling Totals More Than $500B Annually

Today, the AGA released new research showing Americans gamble an estimated $511 billion each year with illegal and unregulated sportsbooks, iGaming websites and “skill game” machines.

While we’ve all known that illegal gambling is pervasive across the country, these numbers provide important context on the reach of these predatory operators—posing a threat to consumers, robbing state governments of $13.3 billion in critical tax funds, and costing legal operators $44.2 billion in revenue.

Illegal gambling is arguably the greatest threat to our industry. The unfortunate reality is about a third of the U.S. gaming market is being captured by illegal or unregulated gambling. We will use this research to strengthen our case to federal and state policymakers and law enforcement agencies for the need to act now.

I know this is not a fight we will win overnight. It will require a united industry and collaboration across stakeholders to stop illegal and unregulated operators. But you have my commitment that the AGA is in this fight for the long haul and, together, we can put these bad actors out of business. You can see key findings below along with the full report and industry resources on AmericanGaming.org.

Illegal Sports Betting

AGA’s report estimates that Americans wager $63.8 billion with illegal bookies and offshore sites at a cost of $3.8 billion in gaming revenue and $700 million in state taxes.

In Context: With Americans projected to place $100 billion in legal sports bets this year, these findings imply that illegal sportsbook operators are capturing nearly 40 percent of the U.S. sports betting market.

The Bottom Line: While the numbers are significant, they also demonstrate Americans’ movement to the regulated market with legal sports betting’s expansion to 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Illegal iGaming

Americans wager an estimated $337.9 billion with illegal iGaming websites, with a loss of $3.9 billion in state tax revenue. The illegal iGaming market—with $13.5 billion in estimated revenue—is nearly three times the size of the legal U.S. iGaming market, estimated to be $5 billion in 2022.

In Context: With iGaming only legal in six states, nearly half of Americans (48%) that have played online slots or table games in the past year have played with illegal online casinos.

The Bottom Line: Illegal, offshore sites are taking advantage of the growth of legal gaming to confuse Americans into using predatory, unregulated websites.

Unregulated "Skill Machines"

Unregulated gaming machines or “skill machines” continue to proliferate, with an estimated 580,651 unregulated machines in the U.S. driving $26.9 billion in revenue loss and $8.7 billion in state tax loss.

In Context: With 870,000 regulated machines in casinos and slot routes, that means 40% of all gaming machines in the U.S. are unlicensed.

The Bottom Line:Tucked inside gas stations, restaurants and bars, these pervasive unregulated gaming machines look and act like slot machines but lack any of the regulatory oversight of the legal industry.