Sports betting has seen a significant expansion across the United States, paving the way for a potentially record-breaking year in 2023 for America’s most wagered-on sport: football.
According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), an astounding 37% of all NFL fans are expected to place bets on NFL games this season. This data is derived from a recent online survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AGA. The survey, carried out between August 29 and 31, received responses from 2,200 American adults. The collected data was meticulously weighted to resemble a representative sample of adults based on various demographics such as age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. AGA represents a variety of stakeholders in the gaming industry including commercial and tribal casino operators, U.S.-licensed gaming suppliers, and financial institutions.
Comparing figures from previous seasons, it becomes evident that the surge in sports betting is substantial. Before the commencement of the 2022 season, a survey revealed that 46 million individuals planned to bet on NFL games. One key reason for this year-over-year increase in wagering is the growing number of states that have legalized sports betting.
As of September 2023, legal sports betting is available in 35 U.S. states, in addition to Washington, D.C. This is a remarkable increase compared to the same time last year when only 31 states and Washington, D.C. offered legal wagering, and even more so compared to 2021 when only 22 states had legalized sports betting.
It is worth noting that the number of states allowing sports betting could have been even higher had California, the most populous state in the nation, voted to legalize it through a proposed but ultimately unsuccessful ballot measure last fall.
FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger expressed great enthusiasm for the upcoming NFL season, stating that it will undoubtedly be the biggest season for sports betting operators throughout the United States.
The Thrill of NFL Betting: A New Era
“We are very excited at FanDuel. This is kind of Christmas, New Year’s, Fourth of July all wrapped into one,” exclaimed Raffensperger. “There really is no week in the entire calendar year in terms of getting new customer trial onto a sportbook. There’s nothing quite like NFL kickoff.”
The Rise of Sports Betting Legislation
Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, it’s been up to individual states to create sports betting legislation, and not the federal government.
NFL Season Opener
The NFL kicks off its regular season with a Thursday Night Football matchup between the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. As of Thursday afternoon, the Chiefs are 4.5 point favorites over the Lions.
Bengals Lead the Way
NFL bettors have a clear favorite team this season: the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are the most-wagered-on NFL team to win this year’s Super Bowl on DraftKings in terms of total handle, aka the total money wagered, prior to Thursday’s opening night.
A Volatile Year for Sports Betting Stocks
The past 12 months have been boom or bust for many sports betting stocks. Over that time, shares of DraftKings are up 81.37%, shares of Penn Entertainment are down 31.2%, shares of MGM are up 27.42%, and shares of Caesars Entertainment are up 15.75%.
Betting & iGaming Companies Flourishing
The Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ), a tier-weighted index of global sports-betting & iGaming companies, is up 16.68% over the past 12 months, compared with the S&P 500 which is up 11.12% over that same period.
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