Sports betting is now legal, in one form or another, in 21 different U.S. states. Eleven of those states offer full mobile betting with numerous options while some states, like Mississippi, offer in-person betting only.
The other big trend is a change in betting demographics.
Youth Gone Wild
In a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult, the betting public is getting younger. Respondents were asked if sports betting were legal in their state, would they place a bet?
Of those that responded “yes,” 38 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34. Breaking the survey down even further, 30 percent of current bettors – those who have placed bets already – are in the 18- 34 demographic. A full 50 percent of current bettors are between the ages of 18 and 44.
This new demographic of young bettors is not as well off as the old traditional bettor. Younger bettors are usually not as far along in their professional careers when compared to older bettors.
Still, in year’s past young bettors were those that had the disposable income with which to bet. As recent as 2017, 29 percent of avid bettors under the age of 35 had household income of over $100,000. The national average – households with that income – is less than half of that 29 percent.
As it stands, prospective bettors – those that will place bets once it becomes legal in their state – are much more likely to be making less than $50,000 in annual income. A full 56 percent of prospective bettors made less than $50K compared to 46 percent of current bettors.
The bottom line is that sports bettors in the U.S. are getting younger and most do not have the income of bettors of previous eras.
Football and Basketball
In the same Morning Consult survey, respondents revealed that the NFL would likely benefit the most from legalizing sports betting. Over 2,200 adults were surveyed and over 500 said they would bet on NFL games if it was legal in their state.
Nearly 30 percent would bet on the Super Bowl and many others would bet on some of the more popular sporting events such as the World Series, March Madness, and the College Football Playoff.
Legalizing sports betting in states would also most likely increase viewership among sports. In a different survey, 92 percent of sports bettors said they are more likely to watch a game that they have bet on.
There are five more states that have legislation in place that could legalize sports gambling in those states in 2021. Another 14 states could pass laws to allow sports betting in either 2021 or 2022.
As more states legalize sports betting, it is likely that betting demographics will continue to change. The average bettor will be more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 34 and be more likely to have less household income than bettors in previous eras.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.