With the expected legalization of sports wagering across more US states, major sports leagues will have more opportunities for revenue generation, according to the American Gaming Association. A recently published study commissioned by the industry group reveals groundbreaking demographic shifts in audiences.
Results demonstrate that today, sports bettors in the United States are younger and more affluent than sports fans who do not bet. Moreover, comparing fans and bettors across several sports leagues, punters are better educated than the general population. If they have access to a legal sports betting platform, 71 percent of all bettors will shift to a regulated market. These are just some of the conclusions of a newly released research called What’s Next in the US sports Betting Market. It conducted by Nielsen Sports on behalf of the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Nielsen Sports, a leading market research firm focused on the sports industry, has surveyed more than 1,000 sports fans and bettors aged 18 or above. Among them, there were viewers and self-identified bettors of NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. The results reveal that 44 percent of all bettors are under the age of 35, whereas only 31 percent of sports fans are aged 18 through 34. It should be mentioned that for the purposes of the survey, they are referred to as the general population and are significantly more than punters across all leagues.
Only 7 percent of all surveyed adults who watch NHL currently bet with a bookie, but the percentage increases gradually until we see the figures for NFL. Around 19 percent of all those who are fans of the league are also bettors. After the legalization of sports wagering, however, Nielsen Sports projects a huge increase in betting activity among fans.
Bettors to Increase 40% in the Wake of Legalization
One of the most interesting conclusions of the AGA-commissioned survey is the potential growth in betting popularity even among those who are currently not wagering. Roughly 40 percent of all sports fans admit they would start placing bets on their favourite sports if they have access to legal and regulated bookies. Looking at the total numbers or the percentages for NFL sports fans and bettors, for instance, there is no huge shift in behaviour, as from 19 percent, bettors would increase to 31 percent of all people. This is, on the other hand, a significant trend representing a 60 percent increase in NFL bettors.
Access to legal sports wagering platforms will greatly contribute to a bigger fan engagement in major leagues and popular games and sports events, according to Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association. Commenting on the survey results, she said that the legal betting options would definitely bring millennials back to stadiums. There is a huge potential for revenue generation in both sports and sports betting but products should be improved in order to attract and keep the audiences.
Policy makers, sports managers and betting operators need to put the focus on consumers, Slane explains. Bettors should be offered access to all types of bets, to better odds, and of course, to mobile and other modern platforms. This is especially true, considering the younger and more affluent audiences in recent years.