The AGA’s survey on sports betting consumer behavior in 2019 shows that bettors are increasingly choosing legal sportsbooks over illegal operators when placing their wagers. In states with legal sports betting in 2019, past-year bettors reported:
Increase in online and mobile betting spend with legal operators
Decrease in spend with illegal bookies
Increase in spend with offshore operators
The findings solidify the need for states to allow competitive alternatives to the illegal market, such as intrastate mobile wagering, which consumer polling shows is a primary factor in drawing customers away from unregulated and dangerous operators. Other key factors influencing conversion from the illegal to legal market were:
Confidence that bets will be paid out - 25%
Awareness of legal options - 20%
Desire to use a regulated book - 19%
Migration from the illegal market would likely have been more pronounced if it wasn’t for sports bettors reporting widespread confusion between legal and illegal operators. Despite 74 percent of bettors saying it is important to only bet through legal providers, 52 percent of past-year bettors participated in the illegal market in 2019. 55 percent of consumers who placed most of their wagers with illegal operators reporting that they believed they were betting legally.
These results highlight the need for further consumer education on how and why to bet legally. The AGA is taking action by educating bettors on responsible gaming, educating the media on the pervasive effects of legitimizing offshore operators, and maintaining a directory of licensed online and retail sportsbooks in states with legal sports betting.
“Illegal, offshore operators continue to take advantage of unknowing consumers. This only worsened during the [COVID-19] sports shutdown, with unregulated bookmakers offering odds on everything from the weather and shark migration patterns to whether your friends’ marriage will survive the pandemic. The AGA is focused on educating customers on how to wager legally and about the dangers of the illegal market.”
- Bill Miller, President and CEO, American gaming Association
Heart + Mind Strategies conducted this survey on behalf of the AGA between December 2019 and January 2020. The survey includes 3,451 interviews among American adults over 21-years-old of various subgroups.