US Sports Betting: Almost 1 in 5 Adults Have Placed Bets

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Sports betting has been gaining popularity throughout the US lately, with multiple states opening their proverbial gates to the industry just in 2022. This Pew Research Center survey shows just how much it actually affects US citizens as it looks at how many people have responded “Yes” when asked if they’ve placed any sports bets in the last 12 months.

1 in 5 Adults Have Placed Sports Bets

The survey includes all forms of sports betting – in-person betting at a gaming venue, online through an app or website, or with friends or family. The results might surprise you – six percent said they’ve placed an online bet through an app, or online sportsbook, or casino, while eight percent have gambled in person at a racetrack, kiosk, or casino.

The biggest group by far was fifteen percent of responders who have placed a sports wager with friends or family in a private betting pool, a casual bet, or in a fantasy league. A total of 19% of responders have responded with “ANY of the above ways” meaning almost one in five adults in the US have said they’ve placed a sports wager in the past year.

The survey looked at 6,034 adults in the period between July 5 and July 17, and according to the results, 24% of the men and only 15% of the women have bet on sports in the past year, meaning the surveyed men were more likely to bet than the surveyed women. Race and ethnicity have also shown some starker differences, with Black and Hispanic adults placing more sports bets than White and Asian American adults, with the first group sitting at 27% and 24% respectively, and the second group – 18% and 10% respectively.

Perceptions of Spreading Industry

On the whole, awareness levels seem to be slightly above the middle point, with 56% of surveyed adults answering they were aware that sports betting is legal in more states than it’s not, leaving 44% saying they haven’t heard about it at all. This ties in with how American adults perceive sports betting as well. Not many see the legalization of sports betting as a good thing – neither for society nor for the sports themselves. Only 8% see it as a good thing for society, with the figure doubling and going to 16% when respondents were talking about how it affects sports.

On the same scale, 34% perceive legalizing sports betting as bad for society and 33% see it as bad for sports. A majority of the respondents, however, perceive it as neither good nor bad for society – 57% to be exact, with that figure dropping slightly to just under half at 49% when it’s about sports themselves.

Outside of this, however, sports betting has been largely a very lucrative industry – both for operators and on a state level. For the period of January through July of this year, commercial sports betting revenue was sitting at slightly above $3.45 billion – that’s an almost 63% increase compared to last year. And the betting handle for the same period was at $50.70 billion – a whopping 88% gain in 2021.

This is, of course, helped in a large part by multiple states managing to legalize sports wagers this year: Arkansas did in February, and Louisiana did it twice – once last year with in-person sports bets, and then at the beginning of this year, with online betting. New York, Kansas, and Maine are already there, with a few more expected to finish things up by the end of the year as well. 2023 might bring even more states into the fold, but as it stands, 30 states have some or all forms of sports betting legal, and more are most probably on their way there, so the industry is only going forwards and upwards and these types of surveys help us get a better picture of what adults do with their newly found freedom to bet on sports.

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