More than 38 million Americans -- 15 percent of the country's population -- are expected to place bets on the National Football League this season, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).
Based on a study conducted by Morning Consult, the AGA report stated that millions of Americans now have access to regulated betting within the United States. The report also said that 24 percent of the population would plan to wager on NFL games if it were legal to do so in their state.
Seven million Americans say they will bet legally at a casino sportsbook this year, according to the report, up 1.2 million from last year.
"During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments," AGA president and CEO Bill Miller said in a statement. "It is clear that as jurisdictions enact policies to provide a legal alternative to the dangerous illegal market, consumers follow suit and seek the protections they deserve."
Additional data indicates increased fan engagement on several levels when a wager is made: --39 percent of avid NFL fans plan to place a bet on the NFL this season. --75 percent of NFL bettors say they are more likely to watch a game they bet on. --28 percent are more likely to attend a game they have bet on. --51 percent are more likely to watch pregame shows and commentary. --63 percent are more likely to gather with friends or family to watch a game.
"Sports betting clearly impacts fans' enthusiasm for engaging with the NFL," said Miller. "As the legal market grows, it is imperative for gaming and adjacent industries to focus on implementing and promoting legal sports betting responsibly to protect consumers and ensure the viability of legal markets to the continued detriment of illegal operators."