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The American Gaming Association (AGA) has urged for greater action against online betting when it comes to wagering on NFL games from illegal websites. 

These calls come after a recent survey revealed that a growing percentage of players said that they would wager on events with unregulated online operators. 

The new campaign got underway yesterday, with the defending SuperBowl Champions – the Kansas City Chiefs – starting with victory against the Houston Texans. 

It’s anticipated that over the course of the season, more than 30 million people in the US will place some kind of bet on a NFL event. 

New findings from NFL betting report 

Morning Consult have carried out a study looking at NFL betting behaviors, which was done so on behalf of the AGA. Compared to last year, the sample pool was smaller; 2,200 Americans were surveyed, compared to around 11,000 in 2019. 

If the findings were to be panned out across the US’ adult population, it’s forecasted that 11.3 million adults – which is 34% of the 33.2 million expected to place a bet – would wager on games via either a regulated or unregulated website. This is 5% higher than last year’s projection, which also factored in that 12.6% more adults – 38 million in total – were forecasted to bet on last season’s NFL.

The Morning Consult survey took place online between August 24th and August 27th. 

Education on where and where to not bet is more important now than ever, according to AGA chief 

AGA Chief Executive Bill Miller acknowledged that the regulated US sports betting market is continuing to grow. However, he also mentioned that now is not the time to rest on laurels. He believes that it’s vital for players to be educated about gambling via legal means, as well as the risks associated with participating in illegal gambling. 

One might consider education to be even more important when you keep in mind that 52% of players in another AGA survey, published in July, were found to unknowingly bet on an unregulated operator’s website. 

Miller’s words were as follows. 

“The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different.

“While we’ve known for a long time that bettors are more engaged fans—particularly when it comes to football—continuing to drive them to the legal market is essential for protecting consumers and the integrity of the games they wager on.

“The NFL and its teams must continue to prioritize and act on the shared responsibility to educate customers on regulated markets and responsible gaming principles in order to realize the full benefit of legal sports betting.” 

Other findings of the Morning Consult and AGA survey on NFL betting 

Online and mobile betting were popular choices with NFL fans who plan on betting this year, in comparison to land-based outlets. In addition to the 34% who are expected to bet online (whether that was via legal or illegal means), 18% of participants (six million people) will place a bet with a bookmaker – either in-person or online. This was an increase compared to the 12% projection from last year. 

Physical betting is far from being off the table completely, though. 6.6 million people, or 20%, are expected to place a bet at some kind of legal land-based sportsbook. This is slightly higher than the 18% prediction that last year’s report revealed. 

Casual betting seems as though it’s on the way down, though. 16.6 million individuals are expected to wager casually with coworkers or friends, which is 50% as a percentage and 3% lower than had been expected in 2019. Meanwhile, casual betting via pools, fantasy contests, and squares is expected to decline from 31% to 26% – translating to 8.6 million players.

While the majority of fans are excited about the current campaign, there is a large fraction that are not. 42% of survey participants say that they have been looking forward to this season less than last year. Various reasons were given for this; 36% held this viewpoint due to increased political activism within the league, while 19% cited an absence of crowds and 17% felt that not being able to meet with their friends for games was a factor.

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