MADISON, Wis. – Even though everybody does it, nearly 50 million Americans wager a collective $8.5 billion during March Madness, sports betting is still mostly illegal.
This is the first championship taking place since the Supreme Court overturned a federal law that outlawed sports betting in almost every state.
Eight states have made sports betting legal since the highest court overturned what’s known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Twenty more are considering legalization, but Wisconsin is not one of them.
That means the office pools most of us participate in during March Madness are still illegal. Last year, 97 percent of the estimated $10 billion wagered was bet illegally, according to the American Gaming Association.
But even that association’s president says they’re not “the fun police” and aren’t interested in intervening in someone’s office pool.
Winning money in office pools is legal in Nevada, as it was even before this year, and it’s now legal in states including Rhode Island, New Jersey, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
Wisconsin is one of just 12 states in the country to have not introduced a bill legalizing sports betting. It would take a constitutional amendment to change the law here. Former Gov. Scott Walker opposed such a change, while current Gov. Tony Evers has not weighed in either way.
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