The American Gaming Association projects a record 46.6 million American adults will make at least one wager on an NFL game for the upcoming season, according to a study it conducted in late August.
That represents a 3% year-over-year increase from 2021’s projections, as more than half the American adult population — 132 million — can now legally place a wager in their own state. The AGA’s research showed fewer people among the 2,200 survey respondents are expecting to place a wager with a bookmaker, with the 13% who said they would down from 15% last year and 18% in 2020.
The AGA also noted the number of people who expect to place a wager with an unlicensed bookmaker in a state without legalized sports betting is 50% higher than in states where it is legal.
“The sustained interest in NFL wagering reflects the growth and continued maturation of legal sports betting across the country,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller in a statement. “Consumers clearly want legal sports betting options and understand the regulated industry’s foundational commitments to responsibility.”
The NFL season kicks off Thursday night with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills. The NFL, which last year made DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars official league partners and FOX Bet, BetMGM, WynnBET, and PointsBet approved sportsbook operators, is the primary driver of sports wagering in the U.S. Betting on its games contributed heavily to the nearly $58 billion wagered legally on sports nationwide in 2021.
There are 36 states with legal wagering when including those with tribal gaming, with Kansas the most recent to launch on Sept. 1. This is also the first full NFL season for which New York will have mobile wagering available, and the Empire State has already surpassed $10 billion handle since launching online betting in early January.
Responsible gaming awareness also increasing
— American Gaming Association (@AmericanGaming) September 7, 2022
The increased availability of wagering on NFL games also has contributed to increased responsible gaming awareness, according to the AGA’s study. More than half (51%) of respondents recalled seeing or hearing more about responsible gaming over the past 12 months than in previous years, and 9 in 10 reported seeing or hearing something about responsible gaming in the past year.
The message has resonated — 82% of respondents believe responsible gaming programs are either somewhat or very effective, and more than 4 in 5 respondents feel the gaming industry is committed to encouraging responsible gaming and fighting problem gaming.
“Responsibility is an underpinning of regulated U.S. sports betting and a clear competitive advantage as we continue to build a sustainable marketplace,” Miller sad.
The AGA has partnerships with the Washington Commanders and New York Jets to promote its “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly” campaign.
AGA research also estimated approximately 10.6 million people will place a wager at a retail sportsbook this season, an increase of 2% from last year and 61% higher than in 2020, when that season began as the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic began to ebb.
But online wagering, which picked up notably during the pandemic, continues to be the preferred method for bettors when it comes to the NFL. An estimated 23 million people are expected to place an online wager, 18% more than last year and more than double the 2020 figure.