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Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Illinois Gambling Debate Marred By Dubious Claims

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Prominent gambling companies have been actively lobbying against Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposal to increase the tax on legal sports betting and leaning on several questionable assertions ranging from unproven to untrue. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFG) is an independent gambling reform group with deep knowledge of the gambling sector’s business practices, both in the UK and now in the US.

Closely monitoring gambling initiatives in states across the US, CFG has taken particular note of the current battle in Illinois, where Gov. Pritzker proposed a tax increase on legal sports betting from 15% to 35%. This measure is aggressively opposed by the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA), comprising Fanatics, Draft Kings, FanDuel (Flutter), and BetMGM (Entain).

SBA has lobbied against Gov. Pritzker’s proposed tax increase under the messaging banner “Why It Matters,” but has not substantiated its claims. SBA claims to have demonstrated public support for its agenda, but CFG believes signatures of support were collected under false pretenses.

“It’s no feat of strength to push a fantastical narrative, then collect signatures and proclaim a mandate. Global gambling conglomerates are expert at positioning sports betting as a foot in the door before the real floodgates inevitably open. Sports betting often serves as a gateway to slots and table games down the line, because they bring in even more revenue — not to mention harm,” said CFG founder and funder Derek Webb.

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“In Britain, there’s been a long history of gambling trade bodies making misleading representations. In fact, one group with shared ties to some SBA members is now defunct after having libeled a reform advocate. CFG is here to urge policymakers and the public to proceed with caution and not rely upon gambling companies who are globally notorious for exaggerating benefits and not owning the harm they create,” Webb added.

Campaign for Fairer Gambling

$4.3 Billion Wagered Illegally During March Madness, Fueled by Social Media Influence

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Latest analysis by online marketplace intelligence specialists, YieldSec, commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFG), has revealed a stark contrast between legal and illegal online gambling activities during the 2024 NCAA Men’s & Women’s March Madness Basketball Tournaments in the US. YieldSec’s monitoring unveiled an overwhelming majority of betting-related social media posts and video content, reaching up to 73% and 78% respectively, directing audiences toward illegal betting and gambling operators.

YieldSec’s findings shed light on the strength of the illegal gambling grip on the American marketplace, with 378 illegal sports betting operators and 651 illicit affiliates aggressively targeting US March Madness audiences and claiming 64% of the total market share, generating $4.3 billion in illegal and untaxed wagering. The remaining $2.4 billion wagered legally amounts to just 36% of the total market share.

These statistics underscore the challenges in controlling the proliferation of unlicensed gambling operators that have historically capitalized on the fragmented legal landscape of online betting in the US.

Key findings for March Madness 2024:

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  1. Illegal gambling on March Madness comprised 64% of US online marketplace wagering ($4.3 billion Handle).
  2. Total value of March Madness betting (legal and illegal) amounts to a handle of $6.7bn.
  3. 378 illegal sports betting operators actively targeted the US.
  4. 651 affiliates promoted illegal sports betting operators that actively targeted the US.
  5. Illegals dominated social media content with up to 73% of all social posts in favor of illegal operators.
  6. 78% of all video content that linked to March Madness betting was linked to illegal operators.

Derek Webb, Founder of CFG, said: “This Yield Sec special report illustrates the dire need for a comprehensive strategy to tackle illegal gambling in the US. The lack of a united government approach and lax oversight by states have only compounded the problem, enabling entities with dubious backgrounds to operate freely. It’s high time for U.S. leadership to spearhead a unified solution to this pervasive issue.”

Ismail Vali, Founder and CEO of YieldSec, said: “The overwhelming presence of illegal gambling during one of the biggest sports betting events of the year is a clear signal that enforcement and monitoring need to be prioritized. Our findings are a call to action for stakeholders across the board to intensify efforts in combating the spread of unlicensed gambling operations that exploit the online marketplace. With the dominance of illegals across our social media channels, it’s clear that the threats to American commerce, community and consumers are a lot closer to home than ever imagined.”

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling is now advocating for a cohesive governmental response to illegal gambling, urging the Department of Justice, Treasury, Federal Trade Commission, and the Trade Representative’s Office to consider the findings of the YieldSec report as a basis for developing effective countermeasures.

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