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The Highest Stakes for the Biggest Game

The outcome of this year’s Super Bowl—a hard-fought 25-22 victory for the now three-time champion Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers—was of great interest for many millions of people, including general football fans, hardcore bettors and, perhaps most of all, the bookmakers whose year-end performance was tied largely to the payouts of various lines.

In addition to their own data, however, those around the industry were also shocked to see recent research released by black market cognoscenti Yield Sec, whose analysis asserted that the total value of illegal bets placed on the game was $4 billion, as compared to just $1.4 billion for the legal, regulated market.

According to the study, which was commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, there were approximately 350 million total bets placed on the contest, with 122 million going to the legal market and 228 million going to its illegal counterpart. These figures, Yield Sec said, were a significant increase from last year’s game (also a Chiefs victory), which reportedly tallied 286 million total bets (186 million illegal versus 100 million legal) at a total value of $4.5 billion ($3.4 billion illegal versus $1.1 billion).