AGA Survey Shows Fewer Adults Plan to Place Bets on NFL Games This Season

Posted on: September 9, 2020, 06:36h. 

Last updated on: September 10, 2020, 11:49h.

More than 33 million US adults are expected to place a bet on NFL contests this season, according to a survey by the American Gaming Association (AGA). That number is down by about 5 million from last year’s polling.

NFL Betting
A recent survey of NFL bettors indicated that Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs would be the top choice for a Super Bowl futures bet for this coming NFL season. (Image: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

A deeper dive into the AGA’s survey shows the decline may not necessarily be a surprise. Only 41 percent of avid and general pro football fans claim to be excited for the upcoming season, which officially kicks off Thursday when defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City hosts Houston.

The poll also says 42 percent of US adults are less enthusiastic about the upcoming season. Of those, 36 percent claim the league’s increased political activism is a turnoff. Others cite COVID-19 factors, including lack of fans at games (19 percent) and not being able to watch games with friends (17 percent).

Not surprisingly, sports bettors are way more likely to be ready for some football. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult for the AGA, indicates that 54 percent of those who bet on sports are more likely to be looking forward to the start of the NFL season.

The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller in a statement. “While we’ve known for a long time that bettors are more engaged fans, particularly when it comes to football, continuing to drive them to the legal market is essential for protecting consumers and the integrity of the games they wager on.”

Legal and Illegal NFL Betting on the Rise

Since the Chiefs held up the Lombardi Trophy seven months ago, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan have joined the legal sports betting market. Four other states have approved legislation, but await regulatory approvals. That includes Tennessee, which wants its sportsbooks online by Nov. 1.

As the legal sports betting continues to grow in the US, so, too, does the number of American bettors using regulated books and online applications to make their wagers. However, the survey also indicates an increase in the use of unregulated forms as well.

More than a third, 34 percent, plan to wager through online apps, both legal and illegal, the poll says. That equates to about 11.3 million adults, and is up from 29 percent last year.

In addition, 20 percent – or 6.6 million – plan to visit a legal brick-and-mortar sportsbook, up 2 percent from last year. But 18 percent will use a bookie. That’s up from 12 percent last year.

The NFL and its teams have been working to forge marketing partnerships with sportsbooks as part of that effort. In recent weeks, the Denver Broncos have forged partnerships with BetMGM and FanDuel, while the Detroit Lions have reached an agreement with BetMGM.

Fewer people (26 percent this year, from 31 percent) said they plan to enter a squares contest, a pool — such as a weekly pick ’em or survivor contest — or a paid fantasy league. In addition, casual betting between friends and co-workers this year will be down from 53 to 50 percent.

NFL Bettors Like Chiefs to Repeat

The AGA also asked bettors who they would back on a $50 wager for the Super Bowl, and the defending champs found their way to the top of the poll.

Kansas City was picked by 13 percent of survey respondents, followed by the Dallas Cowboys at 9 percent. After that, it’s a six-team logjam with Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, New England, New Orleans, and San Francisco all at 5 percent.

Morning Consult conducted the survey from Aug. 24-27, using a sample of 2,200 US adults. The full survey has a 2 percent margin of error.