NFL Leads $13 Billion Legal US Sports Betting Haul in 2019

NFL Leads $13 Billion Legal US Sports Betting Haul in 2019

The dollars and the data from two reports make it official: Folks like betting on sports, and the NFL is the game of choice.

A record $13 billion was wagered legally in the United States in 2019, nearly double the 2018 figure of $6.6 billion in handle, the American Gaming Association announced this week. States gleaned $118 million in tax revenue, according to the trade organization.

Since the overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, bettors have wagered more than $17 billion nationwide, translating to $1.2 billion in sportsbook revenue, as well as $152 million in tax revenue to state and local governments.

Also, Kambi — a global betting solution provider that partners with major American brands including 888 Sport, DraftKings, Penn National Gaming, Rush Street Interactive and Unibet — released a comprehensive in-house analysis underscoring just how much the NFL rules the expanding legal domestic frontier.

Kambi Study Dissects NFL Betting Habits

Key takeaways from the Kambi report:

  • NFL bettors wager more money at halftime than in any other sport tracked by the company.
  • The report, which considered data collected between Sept. 5 and Dec. 31, said 25% of “turnover” on NFL games occurred at halftime, far more than in the NBA (14%), or Premier League soccer (10%). The report cites a two-second “in-play countdown or delay” and “10-second observed countdown on leading (business to customers) in-play offers.”
  • The NFL not only held its position as the most-popular sports betting market in the U.S., but has become the fourth-most popular in the global Kambi network.
  • Additionally, 41% of first-time bettors placed their first wager on an NFL game, with Major League Baseball (16%) a distant second. The report says that 58% of all handle is produced by bettors who wager on the NHL, college football and basketball, MLB and the NBA.

The report also provided evidence to support the anecdotal assumption that regional bias and fandom affect handle in states where sports betting is legal. In Iowa, which borders Missouri to the north, 55% of preseason championship bets were placed on eventual Super Bowl winner Kansas City; the Chiefs drew just 18% of handle elsewhere.

The Philadelphia Eagles accounted for 37% of future bets at Pennsylvania sportsbooks and 22% in bordering New Jersey. The Chicago Bears account for 62% at sportsbooks in Indiana, a state which shares a boundary with Illinois.

New Jersey and New York bettors did apply some savvy or healthy skepticism in eschewing the Giants and Jets, however. The Chiefs (11%) were the top pick in New York and second choice in New Jersey as the Eagles led New Jersey sportsbooks at 22%.


Details on the American bettor in Kambi report

The most popular domestic betting markets for the Kambi were football, basketball, baseball and tennis.

Globally, they were soccer, tennis, basketball and football.

The study also broke down betting behaviors regarding pre-match and in-game offerings.

For wagers placed before kickoff, spread, total points, moneyline and points parlay were the most popular. In-game, they were moneyline, spread and points, result of drive — which Kambi noted drove 8% of live handle, and next scoring play. About 80% of in-game bets were placed at a kiosk, according to the report. That runs counter to the industry trend of greater use of mobile in wagering.

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