US sports betting expansion to see record 45.2 million Americans wager on 2021 NFL season: AGA

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A record 45.2 million Americans, representing 18% of the legal-age population, plan to wager on the upcoming 2021 National Football League (NFL) season, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA) up 36% on 2020 due to the expansion of legal sports betting nationwide.

The AGAs research notes that the number of states in which Americans can legally place a bet ahead of the new season, which kicks off on Thursday (US time), has grown from 18 last year to 26 this time around (plus Washington DC) with another five states likely to offer legal sports betting by the end of the season.

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, said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller.

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.

The AGAs research shows that 21.7 million adults will place a bet sometime this season, up 31% year-on-year, 19.5 million will be online, up 73%, 14.6 million will play paid daily fantasy sports, up 69%, and 10.5 million will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58%.

The AGA said Americans have legally wagered nearly US$27 billion on sports in the first seven months of 2021, generating more than US$350 million in federal, state and local taxes.