It’s looking like we can safely add “betting on the NFL” to Mom, apple pie, and Chevrolet as items that make us uniquely American.
In case you need proof, check out the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) annual survey of our NFL betting plans. It shows that over 45 million Americans — a would-be record number — are planning on placing a bet (or a thousand bets, don’t judge) on the NFL this season. That number would be up 36% from the 2020 NFL season.
“The enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years,” Bill Miller, the president and CEO of the AGA, said in the report. “Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million Americans will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”
And that’s exactly where the AGA notes the vast majority of growth is coming from, with legalized online sportsbooks expected to see the largest year-over-year increase, although the report does note they expect your friendly neighborhood bookie to also see an uptick in action.
Up across the board
Breaking it down, the AGA report expects …
- Nearly 22 million Americans will bet on the NFL casually with their friends, up 31% from 2020.
- Nearly 20 million of us will throw a wager down online, up a whopping 73% from 2020.
- Another 14 million-plus will play in some sort of pool or paid fantasy contest, up nearly 70% from 2020.
- Over 10 million Americans will place a bet at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, up 58% from last year.
- Nearly 7 million will be betting with a bookie, up 13% from 2020.
The AGA notes fan enthusiasm, coupled with expanded sports betting legalization, as the main drivers of the action.
Over 100 million strong
On the expanded legalization front, the numbers certainly bear that out, with the number of states with legalized sports betting jumping from 19 to 24 year-over-year.
And as far as fan enthusiasm goes? The AGA’s research show 25% of Americans are more excited about the 2021 season compared to previous years.
Lastly, the report shows the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” aspect of legalized sports betting mashing up against the NFL, with 37% of NFL fans saying they’ll be betting this season. That number jumps to 47% for self-described “avid” fans. And 63% of NFL fans think the idea of in-venue sportsbooks will eventually add to the entertainment value of heading to the stadium.
The AGA poll was conducted in tandem with Morning Consult, which asked 2,200 Americans their views on the subject between Aug. 25 and 30.