Survey Says Legal Sports Gambling Market Will Benefit NFL

The American Gaming Association has released a new survey, performed by Neilson Sports, that shows legal sport gambling could benefit teams, fans, and operators. More specifically, offshore bettors will move back to legal platforms in the United States, fan engagement will increase, and younger fans will be drawn to the stadium.

The AGA’s study, titled “Sports Betting To Unlock Increased Fan Engagement From Younger, More Affluent Results,” concluded that legal sports gambling will benefit all stakeholders in the sports betting industry, particularly the NFL. The study was conducted via a survey of 1,032 American adults from a wide variety of age, geography, ethnicity, and gender, from May 15 through May 31 this year.

Offshore Bettors Will Move to Legal Platforms in the United States

One of the most significant conclusions was that right now, 71 percent of U.S. bettors who place bets with illegal bookies will move “some or all” of their betting back to the United States’ regulated market if and when they have access to legal sports betting options.

The UK Gambling Commission figures it takes in over 95 percent of all business in the legal sports betting market. In France, around 40 percent of sports gambling is done at illegal and unlicensed sites.

The level of gambling taxes does impact the proportion of players who use the regulated market, though. A study by Copenhagen Economics, which looked at tax rates and how they impact online gambling, showed that the lower the tax rate, the higher the channelization of online gambling that moved from unlicensed sites to regulated gambling.

Furthermore, the study showed that higher tax rates resulted in less tax revenue. This isn’t good news for states that are determined to set high tax rates on sports gambling, such as in Pennsylvania, with a tax rate set at 36 percent. On the other hand, New Jersey, with its online sports gambling tax rate of 13 percent, could pull in over 70 percent of bettors who previously gambled on unlicensed sites. Going by the Copenhagen Economics’ study results, New Jersey will very likely bring in more taxes than Pennsylvania.

Overall NFL Fan Engagement Will Increase

The AGA’s study also looked at how fans’ betting habits would change following the regulation of legal sports gambling. Right now, 19 percent of NFL fans participate in sports gambling. The survey discovered that this number would increase to 31 percent once sports betting is legal. The results were similar for other leagues, but the popularity of the NFL was significantly higher than MLB, NBA and other sports. Additionally, it should be mentioned that legalized sports betting is also expected to boost the NFL’s TV ratings as more bettors tune in to watch games, even if they’re considered “boring” by the average fan.

Sara Slane, the senior VP of Public Affairs for the American Gaming Association, said,

“The Nielsen Sports data supports what we’ve long expected: access to legal sports wagering will increase fan engagement in major sport contests and enable a significant revenue generation opportunity for major sports leagues and teams.”

In other words, more viewers equals more advertising dollars, which means that the NFL can charge TV stations more money to air their games. Additionally, more bettors that attend live games will also have a direct financial impact on NFL teams.

Younger Fans Will Be Drawn to NFL Stadiums

The survey also found that people who bet on the NFL are younger and have more money than fans of other sports. There are more fans who bring in six-figure incomes who choose to bet on sports than fans who don’t place bets on games. Furthermore, these betting fans are largely millennials.

The AGA plans to follow up this report with another one which will determine the amount of revenue this group of bettors will bring in to the major U.S. sports leagues like the National Football League.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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