Report: Nearly 40 Million Americans to Wager on the NFL

Thirty-eight million American adults—15 percent of the U.S. adult population—are planning to bet on National Football League (NFL) games this season, according to a new survey by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

The rapid expansion of legal sports betting has provided increased opportunity for millions of Americans to bet safely with a licensed, regulated sportsbook. This year, 7 million Americans say they will bet legally at a casino sportsbook, 1.2 million more than last year, and tens of millions of others will place bets with friends, participate in pools or squares contests or place their bets online.

“During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments,” said Bill Miller, AGA’s president and chief executive officer. “It is clear that as jurisdictions enact policies to provide a legal alternative to the dangerous illegal market, consumers follow suit and seek the protections they deserve.”

The survey, conducted by Morning Consult, also found that nearly one-in-four (24%) American adults say they would place a bet on the NFL if it was legal in their state. As legal sports betting continues to expand, fan engagement with NFL games will see an impact:

  • 39 percent of avid NFL fans plan to place a bet on the NFL this season.
  • 75 percent of NFL bettors say they are more likely to watch a game they bet on.
  • 28 percent are more likely to attend a game they have bet on.
  • 51 percent are more likely to watch pregame shows and commentary.
  • 63 percent are more likely to gather with friends or family to watch a game.

“Sports betting clearly impacts fans’ enthusiasm for engaging with the NFL. As the legal market grows, it is imperative for gaming and adjacent industries to focus on implementing and promoting legal sports betting responsibly to protect consumers and ensure the viability of legal markets to the continued detriment of illegal operators,” Miller added.

Among NFL fans, the New England Patriots are the favorite to win the Super Bowl (23 percent), followed by the Kansas City Chiefs (8 percent), Dallas Cowboys (7 percent) and New Orleans Saints (6 percent).

Background

  • Since the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—the failed federal ban on sports betting—in May 2018, more than $10 billion has been legally wagered on sports.
  • Thirteen states now offer legal, regulated sports betting, with five more states and the District of Columbia poised to open legal markets in the coming months.
  • Last September, an AGA study showed that the NFL stands to gain $2.3 billion annually from legalized sports betting, largely due to increased fan engagement.
  • AGA’s Sports Betting Consumer Study found sports bettors are more interested in the NFL than any other professional sports league (93 percent interested).
Authored by: Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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