The American Gaming Association’s annual national survey of Americans’ NFL betting plans shows that a record 45.2 million Americans will wager on the 2021 NFL Season, up 36 percent from the 2020 NFL season.
While NFL betting is projected to be up across all wagering methods, betting with online sportsbooks is expected to see the largest increase over 2020 while illegal bookies are expected to see the slowest growth:
21.7 million American adults will bet on the 2021 NFL season casually with friends, up 31% from 2020
19.5 million will place a bet online, up 73% from 2020
14.6 million will participate in a paid fantasy contest or other type of pool competition, up 69% from 2021
10.5 million will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58% from 2020.
6.7 million will place a bet with a bookie, up 13% from 2020
Expanded sports betting legalization and high fan enthusiasm for the season are driving the record number of Americans planning to bet on the NFL in 2021.
Since the kick off of the 2020 NFL season, the number of legal U.S. sports betting jurisdictions has grown from 19 to 24, allowing more than 111 million Americans to place a legal wager in their home state.
Meanwhile, 25 percent of Americans say they are more excited about the upcoming season compared to previous seasons, up from 18 percent last year.
“The enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years. Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million Americans will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.” - Bill Miller, President and CEO, American Gaming Association
The survey also demonstrates sports betting’s value to the league, with 37 percent of NFL fans planning to wager on this year’s NFL season, including nearly half (47%) of self-described avid NFL fans. Further, 44 percent of all Americans and 63 percent of NFL fans believe that in-venue sportsbooks will add entertainment value to attending sporting events in-person.
Along with the expansion of the legal market, increased fan enthusiasm will also drive NFL betting this year, as 25 percent of Americans say they are more excited about the upcoming season than previous seasons, up from 18 percent last year.
Fans from the Northeast (21%) are most interested in betting on the NFL this year, followed by the West (18%), Midwest (17%), and South (15%).
Among expected bettors, the Chiefs are the most popular pick to win the Super Bowl (15%), followed by the Buccaneers (11%), and Cowboys (7%).
Morning Consult, on behalf of the American Gaming Association, conducted an online survey August 25-30, 2021 among a national sample of 2,200 American adults. The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/-2 percent.