US Sports Betting Market Doubled in 2021, Casinos Finally Reach Younger People

Posted on: January 19, 2022, 02:31h. 

Last updated on: January 19, 2022, 03:36h.

The number of sports bettors in the United States wagering on a game at least once a week more than doubled over the past 12 months.

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Zach Young, a resident of New Haven, Ct., places a bet at a DraftKings kiosk at Foxwoods Resort Casino in December of 2021. Sports betting greatly expanded its customer base last year, as additional states joined the legal market. (Image: Associated Press)

Morning Consult, a data intelligence agency that conducts research on a variety of sectors, including the US gaming industry, released its sports betting participation study this week. The firm says that while only five percent of adults said they bet on sports at least once a week in January of 2021, that number jumped to 12 percent by the end of last year.

One in five US adults revealed that they bet on sports at least once a month. The total share of adults who said they bet on sports at least once a year increased five percent to one in four.

The Morning Consult survey conducted in January 2021 involved 2,098 US adults. The same survey in December included responses from 4,224 US adults. Morning Consult claims its assumptions come with a margin of error of only one percent.

Sports betting is currently legal and operational in 30 states, plus DC. More than $52.7 billion was wagered legally on sports last year, with oddsmakers keeping approximately $4 billion of the bets.

Gaming Finally Reaches Younger Demo

Casinos have been for years searching for ways to lure younger people — specifically millennials — onto their gaming floors. Slot machines don’t ring nearly as enticing to the under-35 demographic as the reels have with older generations.

Sports betting has seemingly reached the coveted demographic. Morning Consult says millennials, as well as Generation X and Y, are much likelier to bet on sports than their parents and grandparents.

Nineteen percent of adults aged 21-34 said they gamble on sports at least weekly, while another nine percent say they do so at least monthly. Twenty-three percent of adults aged 35-44 said they place a sports bet at least weekly, and another eight percent monthly.

The sports betting participation rates include both legal and offshore sportsbooks.

Given the proliferation of online sports betting and operators’ focus on digital marketing, it should come as no surprise that younger Americans are the most inclined to place wagers on games,” a Morning Consult release on the review stated. “Older fans who didn’t grow up betting on sports could be a tougher nut for the industry to crack, but there’s a significant opportunity for anyone who can reach this cohort.”

Sportsbooks are trying to reach people of all ages. Sports betting firms like DraftKings and FanDuel spent an estimated $1.2 billion last year on marketing and promotions to acquire US customers.

Micro Betting Popular

Morning Consult concluded that most sports bettors are wagering small amounts on games and events.

Twenty-nine percent of regular sports bettors, regardless of age, said they typically bet $10 or less. Nearly half (47 percent) answered their typical wager is $25 or less. Only 14 percent of sports bettors said their average bet is in excess of $100.

Another noteworthy finding is that sports betting participation did not increase in states where such gambling is legal, compared with states where sportsbooks remain prohibited.