MAR 24 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2020 - 03:24hs.
AGA survey

New study finds sports bettors abandoning bookies for legal market

New American Gaming Association (AGA) research shows consumers prefer to place bets on legal options over illegal bookies in the United States. Average spending with illegal operators fell 25% in legal sports betting states last year, while legal online and mobile betting spend increased 12%. Illegal offshore operators also saw a 3% increase in states with legal sports betting. AGA survey highlights need for consumer education.

The most influential factors for bettors who had shifted from the illegal to legal market are confidence that bets will be paid out (25%), awareness of legal options (20%), and a desire to use a regulated book (19%).

“We’ve known for a long time that Americans like to bet on sports. This research affirms their interest in moving toward the protections of the legal market,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller.

“Giving consumers convenient alternatives to the illegal market, like regulated mobile offerings and competitive odds, is key for getting bettors to switch to legal channels,” Miller added.

Bettors overwhelmingly prefer legal operators, with 74% saying it is important to only bet through legal providers. Despite this, 52% of sports bettors participated in the illegal market in 2019. The study found that illegal sports betting is driven largely by confusion about online operators. More than half (55%) of consumers who placed most of their wagers with illegal operators believed they bet legally.

“Illegal, offshore operators continue to take advantage of unknowing consumers,” continued Miller. “This only worsened during the sports shutdown, with unregulated bookmakers offering odds on everything from the weather and shark migration patterns to whether your friends’ marriage will survive the pandemic. The AGA is focused on educating customers on how to wager legally and the dangers of the illegal market, especially with the return of the MLB and NBA this month.”

To help educate bettors, the AGA’s interactive sports betting map includes a comprehensive directory of licensed online and retail sportsbooks in states where sports betting is legal. In addition, the AGA is actively collaborating with federal and state law enforcement to enhance the collective understanding of the illegal marketplace; engaging publishers and media to ensure their platforms do not promote the illegal marketplace; and educating the public about the dangers associated with illegal sports betting operators.


  • Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia now offer legal, regulated sports betting, with four more states poised to open legal markets in the coming months.
  • Before the COVID-19 shutdown, 2020 looked set to become another record-breaking year with US$3.5 billion legally wagered in January and February, up from US$1.9 billion the same time last year.
  • Legal sports betting is available to 22.4 million more American adults than before the COVID-19 pandemic, as Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. have all gone live since mid-March.
  • Americans have legally wagered more than US$22 billion on sports nationwide since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, generating upwards of US$198 million in tax revenue to state and local governments.
  • In March 2019, the AGA released a first-of-its-kind study on the sports betting consumer.
  • The AGA’s ‘Have A Game Plan, Bet Responsibly’ public service campaign encourages responsible sports betting behavior, including using licensed, regulated operators.

Source: GMB