How much will be bet (illegally) on ‘March Madness’? The AGA will tell you next week Matthew Crowley, CDC Gaming Reports · March 6, 2018 at 9:46 pm As the NCAA Basketball Tournament nears and fans nationwide prepare to fill out brackets and lay millions of dollars in bets, the American Gaming Association will outline what it sees as the benefits of legalized nationwide sports betting. The Washington D.C.-based trade organization – the main lobbying arm for commercial casino industry – said Tuesday it will present its March Madness Wagering Estimate next week at an Atlantic City “Get to Know Gaming” event. In a statement, the AGA said the event will address sports betting and continue the group’s argument that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has failed to curtail illegal sports betting. The federal act allows full-scale sports betting only in Nevada and small-scale sports wagering in three other states. American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, R-N.J., and Caesars Entertainment Corp. Regional President Kevin Ortzman will speak at the event, running 10 a.m. to noon EDT Monday at the Tropicana Atlantic City. The association said other panelists will be confirmed later. The wagering estimate will come just before the NCAA Basketball Tournament, which starts with preliminary round games Tuesday and ends with the Final Four March 31 through April 2 in San Antonio. The 68 teams for the tournament will be revealed Sunday during a nationally telecast program on TBS. Wagering on the men’s basketball tournament has grown well beyond office pools. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, the American Gaming Association estimated about $10.4 billion would be wagered on the 2017 men’s tournament, topping the 2016 total by $1.2 billion. The AP further estimated that more people would fill out 2017 tournament brackets than voted for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. The AGA estimated that just $295 million of the money bet on the tournament would be wagered legally in Nevada. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, college sports’ governing body, opposes betting on the tournament and sanctions the filling out of brackets solely for amusement. But Freeman told the AP the NCAA’s position is “strange,” “hypocritical” and “dangerous” and argued that so much illegal sports betting leaves college sports, in particular, vulnerable to points shaving and other chicanery. The federal sports betting ban’s end may be near. In December the U.S. Supreme Court heard New Jersey’s appeal in a lawsuit filed by the state to end PASPA and allow Atlantic City casinos to offer legal sports wagering. A decision is expected this Spring. The Pew Charitable Trusts reported that legal sports betting bills have been filed in 20 states, some in anticipation of the ban’s lifting.