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Report: 45M Americans expected to bet on NFL games this season

By Journal Staff (


A record 45.2 million Americans (18 percent of the population) plan to wager on the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season, according to a recent research report issued by the American Gaming Association (AGA). 

The  report, issued on Sept. 7, expects that 36 percent more Americans will place a bet on NFL games this season. The AGA attributes the rise in betting plans to the expansion of legal sports-betting options and increased enthusiasm overall for the 2021 season. 

Sports betting is currently legal in about two-thirds of the states, up from just over one-third of states a year ago.

While NFL betting is projected to rise 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:

The report found 19.5 million will place a bet online (legal and illegal), up 73 percent from last year, and 10.5 million will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58 percent from 2020.

Americans legally wagered nearly $27 billion on sports in the first seven months of 2021, generating more than $350 million in federal, state, and local taxes, according to the AGA.

The AGA says its membership includes commercial and tribal casino operators, U.S.-licensed gaming suppliers, financial institutions, and other key stakeholders in the gaming industry.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult, on behalf of the AGA, via an online survey August 25-30, 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 plus or minus 2 percent.

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