A general view as the Miami Hurricanes face the Wichita State Shockers during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 19, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. 
A general view as the Miami Hurricanes face the Wichita State Shockers during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 19, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

March Madness — the college men’s basketball tournament — is underway. And that means office pools, brackets, and lots of betting. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans will bet $10 billion on the tournament, much of it illegally as sports betting is not legal in most U.S. states.

It’s hard to say exactly how much money, in total, is spent on illegal sports bets every year. The AGA puts it at $150 billion.

What is clear? States want a piece of that pool, so they can tax it.

“This is so much untapped revenue that the states are losing,” said Thomas Cooke, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

More than a dozen states, including New York and West Virginia, have proposed laws to legalize sports gambling, but a 1992 law confining it mostly to Nevada stands in the way.

A New Jersey casino gambling case before the Supreme Court could change that.

“If New Jersey wins the case then it would essentially open the door for these other states to become active in statewide sports betting,” said Jeremi Duru, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule within the next couple of weeks. By then, you should know if your bracket is a winner.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Marielle Segarra at @mariellesegarra