A survey from the American Gaming Association (AGA) has found that the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming NFL season have not dampened Americans’ enthusiasm for NFL betting.
Just a few months ago, the odds of the NFL even having a 2020 season were shaky at best due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the show will go on as the NFL has put into place strict protocols in an effort to host the 2020-21 season as safely as possible for players and fans alike.
The 2020 NFL season kicks off tonight with the defending Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs (-430) hosting the Houston Texans (+340).
AGA Survey Commissioned Amid Increased Access to Legal Sports Betting
The AGA commissioned Morning Consult to conduct an online survey in August 2020 to measure Americans’ plans for betting on the upcoming NFL season.
A total of 2,200 Americans 18 or older were surveyed to generate some interesting results, particularly regarding sustained enthusiasm for NFL betting. The AGA notes the survey results have a two percent margin of error.
Notes included with the survey results remind readers that access to legal sports betting has expanded significantly, including since the conclusion of last year’s NFL season. Legal sports betting is now legal in 18 states plus Washington, D.C. Additional states have either passed laws and are awaiting implementation or are seriously considering legislation to legalize sports wagering.
Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the NFL has focused on boosting sports betting in the country by forming as many as 26 marketing partnerships and data sharing deals that will provide NFL bettors with key data that will help them making informed betting decisions.
Since the conclusion of the last NFL season, another 7 states have legalized sports betting, giving an additional 29 million Americans who are over the age of 18 access to legalized sports betting. This is a 54 percent increase in betting numbers when compared to last season.
Americans Still Have a Healthy Appetite for NFL Betting
The AGA data reveals that 13 percent of the America population will wager on NFL games. This works out to roughly 33.2 million America adults who will wager on the 2020-2021 NFL season.
The AGA survey showed that 6.6 million (20 percent) of NFL bettors will place their bets at legal retail sportsbooks around the country. This is an 18 percent year-on-year increase.
Of the 33.2 million Americans who plan to bet on the NFL, 11.3 million (34%) will do so online via legal or illegal providers for a year-on-year increase of 29 percent.
However, those who plan to bet casually via betting pools, fantasy sports contests and squares have dropped sharply in number. According to the AGA survey, 8.6 million Americans plan to bet casually for a drop of 31% compared to last year.
A total of 16.6 million (50) percent are expected to place casual bets with their friends, co-workers and family. This is a decline of 53 percent from last year.
NFL Bettors More Excited Than Fans
The data also revealed some interesting facts regarding the levels of interest in NFL from casual fans vs. sports bettors. The data showed that while fans are happy to see the NFL back in action, they are not as interested as in previous years and this is down to a number of reasons. Data showed that 4 out of 10 American adults (42 percent) were less enthusiastic about this season when compared to last year.
Some of the reasons for the drop in enthusiasm was put down to not being able to gather with friends and watch the games due to COVID-19 social distances measures (17 percent), not having any fans in the stadiums during the games (19 percent) and the on-going political tensions surrounding NFL teams (36 percent).
The survey data showed that NFL bettors (54 percent) are more excited than the general public (18 percent), the casual NFL fan (12 percent) and avid NFL fans (41 percent).
Bill Miller, CEO and President of the AGA said that they were aware that NFL bettors are more engaged than the average NFL fan. He said it was important to drive all NFL bettors to legal sportsbooks so that they can place their wagers and be protected at all times, while ensuring that the integrity of all NFL games are maintained.
Survey Results For Outright Winners
The survey found that bettors are favouring the defending champions to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
Close to 13 percent are betting on the Kansas City Chiefs while 9 percent are putting their money on the Dallas Cowboys to win the 2021 Super Bowl. Five percent are placing their money on teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots.