Department of Treasury Unveils Sports Betting Impact on Money Laundering

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The United States Department of Treasury has published the National Money Laundering Risk Assessment outlining how the sports betting market has increased the risk of money laundering and other unlawful operations.

The study, which evaluated how sports betting impacts money laundering, highlights online wagering as a key factor driving the swift growth of sports betting and the associated schemes. The US sports betting industry is currently valued at $109 billion. The popularity of sports betting and the lucrativeness of the market are underscored by the staggering volume of bets placed on Super Bowl LVIII held yesterday in Las Vegas.

The American Gaming Association had earlier estimated that 67.8 million Americans would wager on the event. Predictions suggest that Super Bowl LVIII will attract a staggering $23.1 billion in bets, a remarkable increase of $16 billion compared to last year's Big Game.

Big Sports Betting Activity Leads to Money Laundering

According to the department, the substantial amounts of money flowing within the sports betting industry have resulted in money laundering and other criminal activities, which have incurred significant consequences.

The Treasury pointed to a case in August 2023 when a Georgia man faced money laundering charges for diverting over $30 million from faith-based charities and donors, with $1 million misused on regulated online sports betting platforms. The Treasury also outlined the connection between illegal offshore wagering and money laundering and revealed that Americans annually wager around $64 billion on illegal or offshore gaming platforms.

Amit Patel Wire Fraud Case

Last December, an American professional sports franchise was also embroiled in issues of money laundering. Amit Patel, a former Jacksonville Jaguars employee, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of engaging in an illegal monetary transaction. Patel embezzled $22 million to gamble on sports betting and fantasy sites, along with acquiring luxury goods.

Using the Jaguars' virtual credit card, Patel embezzled the funds and, under his plea agreement, now faces a potential 30-year prison sentence. The agreement also requires full restitution to the team, leading Patel to forfeit a Florida condo worth $265,000.