Research conducted by the American Gaming Association (AGA) shows that a record 45.2m Americans plan to wager on the upcoming National Football League (NFL) season.
The figure represents a 36% increase on last year’s NFL season, with the increased availability of sports betting across the US cited as the biggest contributing factor.
26 states and Washington DC currently offer legal sports betting, with a further five expected to follow suit by the end of the season. During the previous season, only 18 states plus Washington DC offered the same services.
AGA president and CEO Bill Miller said: “Sports betting is more popular than ever among Americans, and the enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years.
“Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111m American adults will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”
AGA’s research suggests that 21.7m adults will wager on the season casually with friends, up 31% from 2020. 19.5m will place an online bet, it suggests, up 73%, 14.6m will participate in paid fantasy competitions, up 69%, while 10.5m will bet at a physical casino sportsbook, an increase of 58% and a further 6.7m will place a bet with a bookie, up 13%.
The research showed that overall 37% of NFL fans – including 47% of self-described ‘avid’ NFL fans – plan to place a bet on the upcoming season.
Furthermore, 44% of Americans and 63% of NFL fans believe that the addition of in-venue sportsbooks will enhance the entertainment value of attending sporting events in-person.
“Fans are the heartbeat of professional sports, and leagues like the NFL are realizing the full potential of sports betting to drive fan engagement,” added Miller. “To capitalize on this tremendous opportunity, the NFL and its 32 teams must also realize their responsibility to educate fans and promote responsible gaming.”