US Sports Betting Update – A Record 42.5m Americans Will Bet on the NFL Season
A record 42.5 million Americans plan to bet on the 2021 NFL season, according to new research from the American Gaming Association. That represents a 36% increase on last season. The AGA attributes the sharp rise to the proliferation of legal sports wagering across the country, along with general enthusiasm for the big games that lie on the horizon. In total, it expects 18% of the population to bet on pro football this year.
Last season, football fans in 18 states and the District of Columbia could place legal sports bets on the action. That has now increased to 26 states after legal sports wagering in Arizona, South Dakota and Washington began this week. A further five states are expected to offer legal sports betting by the end of the season, having passed the relevant legislation.
“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,” said AGA president and chief executive Bill Miller. “Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million American adults will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”
The AGA surveyed 2,200 American adults in the final week of August on their plans for betting on the NFL season. The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. It used the results to make projections about the entire country.
It found that an estimated 21.7 million American adults will bet on the 2021 NFL season casually with friends, up 31% from 2020. Meanwhile, 19.5 million will place a bet online – including legal sportsbooks and offshore sportsbooks like Bovada, BetOnline and Bookmaker.eu – up 73% from 2020. The AGA expects 14.6 million people to participate in a paid fantasy contest or other type of pool competition, up 69% from last season, while 10.5 million will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58 percent from 2020. Some 6.7 million will place a bet with a neighborhood bookie, up 13% from 2020. The Chiefs are the most popular pick to win the Super Bowl, followed by the Buccaneers and the Cowboys.
Fans from the Northeast (21%) are most interested in betting on the NFL this year, followed by the West (18%), Midwest (17%) and South (15%). “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.”
Caesars Sportsbook Signs Up for NFL Data
Caesars Sportsbook has become the second operator to sign up for official NFL data provided by Genius Sports, following in the footsteps of DraftKings. The deal also covers official data from soccer leagues such as the Premier League and Liga MX, plus NASCAR, along with live streaming of more than 170,000 events per year and lots of statistical information. Caesars has worked hard to improve its online sports wagering platform since taking over William Hill this year, and this deal should significantly enrich the user experience.
“True to the Caesars experience, it’s our goal to treat our sports bettors like royalty,” said Kenneth Fuchs, head of sports at Caesars Entertainment. “We know how exciting NFL betting is for our players and through our partnership with Genius, we can now provide bettors with the live NFL data they need to make wagers like a true Caesar. We look forward to improving our NFL sportsbook offerings through this partnership by giving customers a more engaging and exciting way to play.”
Mark Locke, chief executive at Genius Sports, said: “Acquiring and retaining fans now requires a broader suite of innovative and interactive engagement tools than ever before. We are thrilled that Caesars Entertainment has recognized our investment in official sports data as it fuels the next generation of fan experiences. Our range of live sport, in-game betting products and media services will support Caesars’ acceleration of its U.S. market growth, through exciting new brand, acquisition and monetization opportunities.” Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s chief strategy and growth officer, added that the data would help Caesars Sportsbook provide its customers with “exceptional betting experiences”.
Legal Sports Betting Begins in Three States
The eagerly anticipated legal sports wagering industry began in Arizona this week. The state has 20 available licenses for online sportsbooks – 10 for tribes and 10 for professional sports venues. Those tribes and venues can host one online sportsbook each. Eighteen of the 20 licenses have been dished out, and 15 recipients have confirmed which sportsbooks they will host. Ballys Corp., Barstool Sportsbook, Betfred Sports, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, Digital Gaming, DraftKings Inc., FanDuel Group, Fubo Gaming Inc., Golden Nugget, Rush Street Interactive, SuperBook Sports, TwinSpires, Unibet and WynnBE have all gained access to the state, which is expected to become one of the largest in the country for sports betting.
The first sportsbook in Washington opened its doors on Thursday morning. Snoqualmie Casino was first out of the gate in time for the opening game of the new NFL season, which saw the Bucs earn a narrow victory over the Cowboys. “A lot of work went into it to get this launched on time,” said Snoqualmie Casino chief executive and president Stanford Le. “For the tribe, it’s very special. “This is a tribe that wasn’t recognized 60 years ago.”
Elsewhere, 888 Holdings launched Sports Illustrated Sportsbook in Colorado just in time for the new season. The London-based operator tied up a deal with Authentic Brands, which published Sports Illustrated, earlier this year. The sportsbook, which is 95% owned by 888, will now be rolled out across the country in a bid to compete with industry leaders like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars.