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Sports betting in the United States - statistics & facts

Sports betting is a type of gambling that refers to the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Bets are typically made through bookmakers, also known as sportsbooks. These operate both as land-based establishments, for example, at casinos or betting shops, and online. In 2020, the total sports betting revenue in the United States amounted to 1.55 billion U.S. dollars. In the U.S., sports betting is legal at the federal level, however, it is still not legal in every state. Even when the practice is legal, regulations regarding sports betting vary on a state-by-state basis. As of September 2021, 26 states including Washington, D.C. had operational legalized sports betting. An additional six states have legalized the practice but have not yet launched legal sportsbooks. In 2020, the share of the U.S. public that believed online sports gambling should be legal in their state varied by age group. Approximately 42 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 54 were in favor of legalizing online sports gambling. Meanwhile, in the same year, the overall share of adults that participated in sports betting in the U.S. was 13 percent.

Which groups engage in sports betting in the U.S.?

The share of sports fans interested in sports betting in the United States varied by professional sport in 2021. The National Hockey League's (NHL) fan base was the most interested in sports betting with 62 percent of fans stating that this was the case. Despite the National Football League's (NFL) popularity in the U.S., NFL fans were the least interested in sports betting across six sports leagues, with only 48 percent of fans expressing an interest in betting.

Meanwhile, when looking at sports bettor demographics, it was found that men were more likely to place wagers on sports. According to a 2020 survey, the share of men who participated in sports betting in the U.S. was 20 percent. Meanwhile, only seven percent of women stated that they participated in sports betting. Another 2020 survey revealed that the distribution of U.S. sports bettors also varied by ethnicity.

How did COVID-19 impact sports betting in the U.S.?

The sports betting industry was hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as many professional sports leagues and events were put on pause. During a 2020 survey in the U.S., the majority of respondents noted that they were betting less since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Not only were sporting events paused but many brick-and-mortar establishments were closed to the public, resulting in an increased demand for digital sports betting. In May 2020, the monthly change in sports betting and fantasy app net installations in the U.S. grew significantly as Major League Baseball (MLB) was preparing to resume its abbreviated season. Despite the obstacles to sports betting, more states are in the process of legalizing the practice, and the industry is growing as a result. By 2025, the forecast revenue for sports betting in the U.S. was expected to reach eight billion U.S. dollars.

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Participation

Online sports betting

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Sports betting in the U.S.

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Sports betting in the United States - statistics & facts

Sports betting is a type of gambling that refers to the act of placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. Bets are typically made through bookmakers, also known as sportsbooks. These operate both as land-based establishments, for example, at casinos or betting shops, and online. In 2020, the total sports betting revenue in the United States amounted to 1.55 billion U.S. dollars. In the U.S., sports betting is legal at the federal level, however, it is still not legal in every state. Even when the practice is legal, regulations regarding sports betting vary on a state-by-state basis. As of September 2021, 26 states including Washington, D.C. had operational legalized sports betting. An additional six states have legalized the practice but have not yet launched legal sportsbooks. In 2020, the share of the U.S. public that believed online sports gambling should be legal in their state varied by age group. Approximately 42 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 54 were in favor of legalizing online sports gambling. Meanwhile, in the same year, the overall share of adults that participated in sports betting in the U.S. was 13 percent.

Which groups engage in sports betting in the U.S.?

The share of sports fans interested in sports betting in the United States varied by professional sport in 2021. The National Hockey League's (NHL) fan base was the most interested in sports betting with 62 percent of fans stating that this was the case. Despite the National Football League's (NFL) popularity in the U.S., NFL fans were the least interested in sports betting across six sports leagues, with only 48 percent of fans expressing an interest in betting.

Meanwhile, when looking at sports bettor demographics, it was found that men were more likely to place wagers on sports. According to a 2020 survey, the share of men who participated in sports betting in the U.S. was 20 percent. Meanwhile, only seven percent of women stated that they participated in sports betting. Another 2020 survey revealed that the distribution of U.S. sports bettors also varied by ethnicity.

How did COVID-19 impact sports betting in the U.S.?

The sports betting industry was hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as many professional sports leagues and events were put on pause. During a 2020 survey in the U.S., the majority of respondents noted that they were betting less since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Not only were sporting events paused but many brick-and-mortar establishments were closed to the public, resulting in an increased demand for digital sports betting. In May 2020, the monthly change in sports betting and fantasy app net installations in the U.S. grew significantly as Major League Baseball (MLB) was preparing to resume its abbreviated season. Despite the obstacles to sports betting, more states are in the process of legalizing the practice, and the industry is growing as a result. By 2025, the forecast revenue for sports betting in the U.S. was expected to reach eight billion U.S. dollars.

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