More Americans are participating in legal sports betting and playing in fantasy leagues than you might think.
A recent study performed by polling firm Leger for the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FGSA) found that 69.5 million adults in the United States, defined as anyone 18 or older, either bet on sports or play some type of fantasy sports. The survey also estimated that 59% of that 69.5-million-person population are doing both.
Fantasy sports and sports betting also saw individual year-over-year growth rates in the double digits. For fantasy sports, the study found there are now 50.4 million players, a 13.5% increase over the previous year and equal to about a fifth of all American adults.
In terms of retail and online sports betting, Leger’s research suggested nearly a quarter of American adults are now involved, as 60.2 million people were projected as participants. This is an increase of 9.4 million bettors from 2021, or a 20% year-over-year rise.
One area of the population that has helped power growth in the sports-bettor ranks has been female players. While women made up only 20% of sports bettors in 2019, the Leger survey found that number has now increased to 34%, meaning that more than 10 million new women started betting on sports during that time.
The increase in fantasy sports and sports betting participation is exciting for the FSGA, whose members include sports and gaming enthusiasts, as well as major fantasy and sportsbook operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
“The expansion of legal sports wagering and the post-pandemic bounce back for fantasy sports is very encouraging to see,” FSGA Chair Stacie Stern said in a press release. “I’m also excited to see greater diversity of participants throughout our industries.”
Why not both?
For those who might’ve been concerned the spread of sports gambling would lead to the demise of their fantasy football league, that has proven to be wrong. The Leger study showed that 98% of fantasy sports players who started betting also continued to play fantasy sports.
The data from the survey also suggested that 31% of sports-betting handle is from live wagering on games. In addition, 63% of sports bettors are using the internet to place their bets.
Another data point from the study is that only 19% of users using unregulated sportsbooks know that their sportsbook isn’t regulated. However, the study found that in states with regulated sports betting, the percentage of users still betting exclusively on unregulated sites fell to 24% from 59%.
Leger, the company that performed the research for the study, is one of North America’s largest independent research firms. The firm’s research was compiled through a web survey in May of 2,000 American adults.