A casino industry survey released Tuesday leaves much to be desired for the regulated sports betting industry.
The American Gaming Association said in a news release that 20.1 million people in the U.S. “plan” to bet on the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo. The competition was postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus is back with a vengeance, but the Olympics are still on.
The AGA said its Olympics survey was the first of its kind.
The 20.1 million potential bettors are equivalent to 8% of the American adult population. Legal and regulated sports betting is allowed in states with a combined population of more than 100 million people.
The poll was conducted by Morning Consult July 9-12, and it had a sample of 2,200 adults who were interviewed online. The data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region.
The reported margin of error is +/- 2%.
For some additional context: The 20.1 million is less than half of the 47.4 million the AGA found in a separate survey were going to bet on March Madness earlier this year.
One problem for the industry …
Though 20.1 million bettors sounds like a healthy number, the AGA found that 47% plan to bet casually with friends. The regulated sports betting industry won’t get a piece of that wagering activity.
Side note: One can clearly see why the sports betting industry is trying to capture that peer-to-peer wagering.
Unfortunately, from an industry perspective, that is expected to be the most common way of wagering. The good news is that 43% say they will place a bet online, though that presumably includes some offshore betting.
States with legal and regulated sports betting see around 90% of their handle come via the internet. Since mid-2018, more than $60 billion has been wagered legally in states that allow it.
The survey found that 16% will place a bet on the Olympics at a retail sportsbook.
Just 13% said they will bet through a bookie, which isn’t a legal method. The black market will take time to phase out, as legal sports betting has spread nationally only since 2018.
The AGA did find that a significant number of people are declining to bet on the Olympics illegally.
“Demonstrating Americans’ strong desire for legal betting options,” the AGA said in the presser, “10% of Americans who do not plan to place a bet on this summer’s games said they would be more likely to wager if it was legal to place an Olympic bet in their state.”