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AGA says $10.4B will be bet on NCAA tourney; Warren Buffett is against legal sports betting

Twice weekly, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

Stumble upon something you think we should include? Email info@bettingtalk.com.

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The American Gaming Association estimates $10.4 billion will be wagered on the NCAA tournament this year.

The $10.4 billion expected to be bet on the tournament includes popular office pools and is up 13 percent from last year’s tournament, the AGA says. Only a small fraction of the money bet on the tournament, around 3 percent, is believed to be wagered legally in the United States. The bulk of the remaining $10.1 billion is placed with offshore sportsbooks and local bookmakers, according to the AGA, which represents the U.S. casino industry.

For perspective, $10.1 billion is reportedly the price of 92 Boeing 737 jetliners.


This week, billionaire Warren Buffett said he would be against legalized sports betting in the United States.

Why does he oppose it?

“If you don’t have a team in a game, it is definitely more fun to have five bucks on it with the guy sitting next to you, there’s no question about that,” he says. “But I generally don’t think there’s a lot to gain by having a country where lots of people are going to be losers. If they’re making a bet with the guy next to them, that’s one thing, but if they’re doing it against a sportsbook, they’re going to lose money all the time. And gambling is addictive, so I’m negative on it.”

 

Bloomberg published an article about another Wall Street investor who took a stab at sports betting in Las Vegas and might be getting out.

Howard Lutnick, the man who rebuilt Cantor Fitzgerald LP, and then some, after the catastrophe of 9/11, has spent the past decade looking for a piece of the action by building a sports gambling powerhouse. But Vegas can be a tough town — even a player like him has run into one obstacle after another.

Now, Lutnick may be folding his hand. He’s shopping the business around in what is described as an informal process to gauge interest, according to a person familiar with the sale. Cantor’s internal merger and acquisitions team is handling the possible transaction, circulating a short description of the business, said the person, who was not authorized to speak because the discussions are private. While the company is losing money, the person said, it may fetch $50 million.

 

Another recently published Bloomberg article lists comparisons between sports betting and Wall Street.

Your March Madness office pool is like the Charles Schwab of sports betting. Beyond those hastily chosen brackets, there’s an entire cottage industry of sports betting that’s increasingly resembling Wall Street.

In 2016, total sports wagers in Nevada were $4.5 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. With that much at stake, gamblers are turning to more sophisticated tools that involve complex data analysis to achieve better odds, real-time wagering during games, fund managers who pool bets and risk management practices. The result is something akin to day trading.


Michigan’s sports betting bill may not get a vote this year.

Michigan joined a number of states eyeing the legalization of sports betting, either now or in the future, when a bill surfaced in January.

The sponsor of that legislation — state Rep. Robert Kosowski — was optimistic that he had a shot of moving his bill forward this year after it failed to do so in 2015.

His bill — H 4060 — got a hearing in front of the House Regulatory Reform Committee last week. However, the bill did not get a vote, and when — or even if — it will do so this year.

“I had the opportunity to testify in front of Chairman Brandt Iden and the other members of this committee to explain the potential of what House Bill 4060 could accomplish for Michigan and gaming as a whole,” Kosowski said in a statement about the hearing.