|Did you bet on Super Bowl XXXVII? Chances are, you used an Internet betting site to do so. Sports Betting is illegal outside Nevada, but that didnít stop US residents flocking to the more than 500 companies located in foreign countries that take bets over the Internet. Internet sports betting as an industry took $27 billion in wagers from American customers in 2002, with $1.2 billion in revenue, according to estimates by Sebastian Sinclair, a gaming analyst for Christiansen Capital Advisors who has testified before Congress on the issue. |
Bets from the US with offshore operations were more than 13 times what Nevada handled, according to Sinclair's estimates.
'It's like Prohibition,' Sinclair said. 'This is the moonshine of the 21st century.' Meanwhile, legal sports betting at Nevada casinos has decreased in four of the past five years, according to the Nevada Gaming Commission. About $2 billion was wagered on sports last year in Nevada.
The US Justice Department says Americans betting online are breaking the law, even if it is legal in the country receiving the bets.
But trying to find an online sports bettor who has been arrested for the activity is pretty difficult.
David Carruthers, chief executive of www.betonsport.com in San Jose, Costa Rica, estimates more than 100,000 Americans placed bets on NFL games with his company this season.
'I bet the jails would be pretty full if you start putting sports bettors in there,' Carruthers said.
BetonSports boasts a wide variety of betting options, such as 'proposition' bets on whether Tampa Bay receiver Keyshawn Johnson will have more or fewer than five receptions in the game.
'It just so happens I am providing a service that the American public wants,' Carruthers said. 'In fact, the American public is hungry to take advantage of my service.'