The sharp increase in betting plans this year is said to be from the expansion of legal sports betting options. Fans in 18 states and Washington DC had access to operational and legal sports betting at the start of the 2020 season. As this year's season kicks off, Americans are able to place legal sports wagers in 26 states and Washington DC as the 2021 games commence. Five additional states are also set to offer legal sports betting by the end of the season.
AGA President and CEO, Bill Miller, said: “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.
“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.”
With projections for NFL betting set to be high across all wagering methods, sports betting is expected to see the largest increase over 2020, while illegal bookies are expected to fall and take in the lowest amount while seeing the slowest growth.
In total, 22 million American adults are projected to bet on the 2021 NFL season. That's two million more than the statistics of those expected to place bets online, whether legal or illegal. The percentage of people participating in paid fantasy contests has risen up to 69% with 15 million people involved. In total, 10 million gamers will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, and seven million will choose to place bets via a bookie.
“Fans are the heartbeat of professional sports, and leagues like the NFL are realising the full potential of sports betting to drive fan engagement," added Miller.
“To capitalise on this tremendous opportunity, the NFL and its 32 teams must also realise their responsibility to educate fans and promote responsible gaming.”