Breaking news: Americans, and especially Indianans, like to bet on football.
While this may seem like news to a lot of people in the mainstream media, the majority of fans and bettors have been very tapped into sports betting for a long time. The lone difference is that now that sports betting is legal in Indiana and across the nation, everything is being brought out into the light.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) ran a national survey to give us an idea of just how big of a market sports betting is when it comes to football, and the numbers are quite startling.
38 million Americans will bet on football
The numbers are back from the AGA’s national survey, and the figures are eye-popping. They’ve reported that 38 million American adults will place a sports bet on NFL games this season.
That’s roughly 15% of the adult population in the United States. Those numbers are actually still quite low as the survey showed that 24% of Americans would like to bet on the NFL if it was legal to do so in their state.
Sports betting is no longer illegal federally. However, the Supreme Court has left it up to the individual states to decide whether they want to legalize it or now. Some states, like Indiana, have legalized it while others have yet to do so.
Of course, to no one’s surprise, the survey showed that betting on the NFL increased engagement in the sport.
75% of bettors said they were more likely to watch a game if they had action on it. 51% of bettors said they’re more likely to tune-in to pre-game preview shows or commentary throughout the week if they had money on a game.
NFL craves integrity fee but will have to settle for a boost in other ways
Since sports betting became legal in the United States, we’ve heard about the major sports leagues asking for an integrity fee. Of course, they would like a cut of a massive piece of that is sports betting.
The call for integrity fees has lessened some. It is likely the leagues have realized that by welcoming sports betting with open arms, they stand to benefit from greater fan engagement.
The AGA’s survey has quantified those numbers as their research shows that the NFL stands to make an additional $2.3 billion a year from the legal sports betting market.
That’s strictly because fans will be more engaged due to having more money on the games. That might mean:
- Fans going to the games
- Buying streaming packages to watch the games
- Tuning into to the regular broadcasts more frequently
To veteran sports bettors, that’s not a surprise. They’ve long known that this can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Take a recent Monday Night Football, for example.
We just saw ESPN feature a game with two 0-3 teams as the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers were winless. On top of that, some stars that had played in recent meetings were not playing:
- Ben Roethlisberger
- A.J. Green
- Le’Veon Bell
- Antonio Brown
Without sports betting or fantasy football, who would be watching this game? Even the fans from the two cities are downbeat about their teams’ performances so far this season.
At a very minimum, the ratings and engagement would be down. Instead, with many people around the country able to bet on the game, play Daily Fantasy Sports, get involved in Survivor Pools, or participate in season-long fantasy, the engagement goes up.
The bottom line is it’s more interesting for the fans and the league benefits too.
Sports betting in Indiana
Sports betting in Indiana has been active for over a month now. And just last week, Indiana launched online sports betting with two mobile sports betting apps:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook
It’s no secret why Indiana sportsbooks, both retail and online, rushed to get up and running before the start of football. Betting on the NFL is likely to be their most profitable sport.
And while there are only two mobile sports betting apps in Indiana right now, it shouldn’t be long before more enter the market to take advantage of the opportunity.