The UNLV Center for Gaming Research looked at sports wagers in Nevada from 1984 to 2020 and found that the average sportsbook win percentage on parlay bets was nearly 31%, compared to about 6% on all straight bets.
Translation? Parlays are a cash cow for the sportsbooks. No wonder why they keep pushing them on would-be bettors.
To be fair, putting a buck or two down on some +10000 action is kinda fun, so there’s that. But still: We all know we’re entering into a probable losing proposition, and you might think we would-be bettors would wise up after all this time.
— Emmit Fitz-Hume (@EmmitHume) August 14, 2021
According to a recent study from CivicScience, American sports bettors — specifically, American online sports bettors — still love themselves some sweet, sweet parlay action.
In fact, among all Americans, parlay bets are even more popular than point spread or moneyline action.
Young and diverse
But the CivicScience study didn’t stop at just parlays; it did a bit of a deep dive into the online sports betting world, and with it, spilled some numbers that range from “hmm, pretty interesting” to “this stuff is probably pretty close to a guarded secret among the operators.”
For instance, get this: According to the study, 20% of all Americans aged 21 to 54 have placed an online wager in the last year, a number that is particularly astounding considering online sports betting is still only fully legal in 14 states and D.C.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the NFL led the way, with 7% of Americans saying they’ve placed an online bet on the sport in the last year, followed by the NBA, MLB, and the NHL.
When it comes to age, sports betting is a younger person’s game, with 31% of those between the ages of 21 and 34 saying they’ve placed an online bet in the last year, compared to 7% of those Americans aged 35 to 54.
Another fascinating bit from the demographics side: Sports bettors are way more diverse a population than non-sports bettors. According to the study, over a quarter of sports bettors are African-American and one in nine are of Asian descent.
A few other takeaways from the study showed that sports bettors might not be the most health-conscious group of folks.
For starters, people who bet on sports are more than three times as likely to smoke cigarettes at least occasionally, and are more than four times as likely to partake in cannabis use. (Fun fact: Only marijuana users use the word “partake.”)
Gambling makes me want to start smoking cigs
— Peter Nickles (@PetyrNickle) August 15, 2021
Alcohol use paints a similar picture, with online sports bettors about 46% more likely to enjoy a beer now and again.
Finally, and unsurprisingly, there’s a big crossover between sports bettors and people who dabble in the crypto space.
All told, the study from CivicScience highlights a few areas where sports bettors clearly separate themselves from non-sports bettors. It’s certainly the type of information that will be attractive to would-be advertisers as the market continues to mature.