More than 38 million Americans and nearly 1.6 million New Jersey residents say they will place a sports wager during the centennial season of the National Football League, according to a recent survey.
The total number of Americans betting on professional football this year would be even larger if sports betting was available in more states, as 24% of those surveyed said they would be likely to wager on the NFL if it was legal and convenient where they live.
“During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, the national lobbying organization for the gaming industry. “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.”
One day before the NFL season officially started, the AGA released figures from a national poll conducted last month that demonstrates the growth of legal sports betting in the United States more than one year after the Supreme Court repealed a federal ban. Since May 2018, more than $10 billion has been legally wagered on sports.
Legalized sports betting is now offered in 13 states, with five others and Washington D.C. poised to open regulated markets in the coming months.
The number of bettors who said they would place their bets at a retail casino sportsbook is 6.9 million, an increase of nearly 1.2 million from last year, the AGA survey found. In New Jersey, eight of the nine Atlantic City casinos have retail sportsbooks and two others are operating at the state’s licensed racetracks, Meadowlands (East Rutherford, Bergen County) and Monmouth Park (Oceanport, Monmouth County).
Since the launch of legal sports betting in New Jersey in June 2018, more than $616 million has been wagered on professional and college football, according to data from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. On average, 80% of all sports wagers in New Jersey are placed with a mobile or online sportsbook.
Legalized sports betting also has a positive impact on the leagues themselves. The AGA previously stated that the NFL stands to make $2.3 billion a year, Major League Baseball could generate $1.1 billion, the National Basketball Association could net $585 million and the National Hockey League could make $216 million from a legal, regulated sports betting market, largely due to increased fan engagement.
According to the AGA survey, which was conducted by Morning Consult online between Aug. 7-12 among a national sample of 11,001 Americans, 75% of bettors said they were more likely to watch a game they have wagered on, 28% said they were more likely to attend a game, 51% stated that were more likely to watch pre-game shows and commentary, and 63% were more likely to gather with friends or family to watch a game.
“Sports betting clearly impacts fans’ enthusiasm for engaging with the NFL,” Miller said.
“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.”