American Gaming Association Projects 73.5M Will Bet On 2023 NFL Season

Written By J.R. Duren on September 7, 2023
Dallas Cowboys Fans wear costumes during NFL Game with NFL logo

More than one in four American adults will bet on the NFL during the 2023-2024 season, according to the latest projections from the American Gaming Association (AGA).

The AGA’s survey revealed that 73.5 million American adults plan to bet on the NFL, a figure that represents 37% of the NFL fan base.

Source: American Gaming Association via Twitter

2023 NFL betting figures represent a massive jump from 2022

Perhaps the most striking thing about the AGA’s new survey data is how much betting has increased among American adults since 2022.

The AGA’s 2022 survey found that 46.6 million Americans said they would plan to bet on the NFL. In 2023, that number jumped by nearly 27 million, representing a nearly 58% increase.

The number of gamblers of a legal age that will place a bet online lept nearly 53% from 23 million to 35.1 million.

Additionally, 13.6 million people say they will place a bet at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, up three million from last year.

The US sports betting market continues to grow as it matures, reinforcing what AGA CEO Bill Miller said when the organization released its 2022 NFL betting projections:

“The sustained interest in NFL wagering reflects the growth and continued maturation of legal sports betting across the country. Consumers clearly want legal sports betting options and understand the regulated industry’s foundational commitments to responsibility.”

Sports betting launches in four states likely drove the projected increase

Between the time the AGA did its 2022 research and released its 2023 data, four states legalized sports betting, bringing the national total of legalized markets to 37 states:

  • Ohio: January 2023
  • Kansas: September 2022
  • Maryland: November   2022
  • Massachusetts: March 2023

Those four states have a combined population of nearly 28 million, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau.

Additionally, Ohio is one of the country’s premier sports betting markets, generating more than $1.1 billion in handle when the state launched sports wagering in January. The Massachusetts and Maryland markets are formidable, too, generating more than $540 million in combined handle in July.

Should the NFL be happy about the latest projections?

Over the past three years, the NFL has gone all-in on legalized sports betting. Numerous NFL teams have signed partnerships with massive sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings. NFL players have signed partnerships with sportsbooks.

NFL teams even tweet sports betting promos like this one:

Source: BetMGM via Kansas City Chiefs on Twitter

Over the past year, that effort has failed to capture a larger sports betting share among the league’s fan base. The AGA predicts that 37% of NFL fans will place a bet on the NFL this season, which is identical to 2022. And, in 2022, the 37% market share was “similar” to 2021, according to the AGA.

In short, the NFL should be disappointed with the latest AGA predictions. Despite all the money put into marketing and partnerships over the past two years, the share of league fans who anticipate placing a bet this year remains the same.

The stagnation in NFL betting raises interesting questions about why that market share is treading water:

  • Is 37% the ceiling for sports betting share in the NFL fan base?
  • What can the NFL do to increase that number over the next five years?
  • Have sportsbooks focused too much on customer retention in their markets and not enough on customer acquisition?
  • Are sign-up bonuses too complicated for the average bettor, such that they don’t have the intended effectiveness?
  • Is the NFL content with its current market share?

These questions are certainly up for debate as the NFL looks to its sports betting strategy for the next few years.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo; illustrated by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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