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US – Over 33m Americans will bet on the NFL this year

By - 9 September 2020

Approximately 13 per cent of American adults plan to bet on National Football League games this year despite lower enthusiasm from fans in general about the 2020-21 season, according to a new survey from the American Gaming Association.

Of the estimated 33.2m adults who plan to bet on this NFL season:

20 per cent (6.6m) will wager at physical, legal sportsbooks, up from 18 per cent last year.
34 per cent (11.3m) will place a bet through legal and illegal online platforms, up from 29 per cent.
26 per cent (8.6m) will bet casually through pools, fantasy contests, and squares, down from 31 per cent.
50 per cent (16.6m) will bet casually with friends, family, or coworkers, down from 53 per cent.

Those who plan to wager on the upcoming season are more enthusiastic than NFL fans overall. Sports bettors are significantly more likely (54 per cent) to be excited about the upcoming season than the general population (18%), self-described avid and general NFL fans (41 per cent), or casual NFL fans (1 per cent). The AGA previously found the NFL stands to gain $2.3bn annually from legal sports betting, largely due to increased fan engagement.

“The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “While we’ve known for a long time that bettors are more engaged fans—particularly when it comes to football—continuing to drive them to the legal market is essential for protecting consumers and the integrity of the games they wager on.”

Engagement from sports bettors will prove even more important to the NFL as fans report generally lower enthusiasm for the NFL season. 4 in 10 (42 per cent) American adults say they are less excited about this season than last year, citing the increased political activism around the league (36 per cent), absence of fans in stadiums (19 per cent), and inability to gather with friends to watch games (17 per cent) as the main factors contributing to their lessened interest.

Looking to the Lombardi Trophy, 13 per cent of NFL bettors plan to wager on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, followed by nine percent on the Dallas Cowboys, and five percent each on the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers.

“The legal sports betting market continues to grow to the detriment of dangerous, illegal offshore operators. The NFL and its teams must continue to prioritise and act on the shared responsibility to educate customers on regulated markets and responsible gaming principles in order to realise the full benefit of legal sports betting,” Miller added.

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