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The Growth in Sports Gambling Is Looking Like a Good Bet

It’s March Madness time and before we all get too wrapped up in filling out our brackets for this year’s college basketball tournament, SBRnet has some new findings from our 2021 Sports Market Analytics Survey of Fan Behavior as it relates to one of hotter topics: Gambling on Sports.

Regardless of your personal feelings about sports gambling, we are about to see an explosion in the category as both professional and college sports look to make up lost revenue from the empty stadiums and arenas of the past year. And based on what we are seeing in the 2021 Fan Study, the category has a lot to offer, but it also has its challenges. Sports betting is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. It is approved and pending in six more states and experts predict within two years sports gambling will be legal in all 50 states. That growth will bring business and job opportunities for students currently in college, particularly those with experience with the types of data these companies will be using for various aspects of their business (like what your students can access on the Sports Market Analytics Platform powered by SBRnet).

At SBRnet, we always like to start with the numbers. And we are seeing some interesting strategies and challenges that are apparent with the 2021 Sports Market Analytics Survey of Fan Behavior which surveyed more than 3,500 sports fans across on a range of topics, including sports gambling, fantasy sports and E-sports. This is the first time the SMA survey has asked about sports betting and the results were eye opening.

  • 23.5 million Americans, 13 years and older participated in some form of sports gambling in 2020
  • The NFL and College Football are one and two respectively when it comes to the sports on which consumers most frequently gamble.
  • With March Madness ready to get started, College Basketball takes the fifth spot in terms of the sport on which fans most frequently bet.
  • The steep dop off in Sports Gambling by younger, Gen-Z’s will present a long-term challenge for sports gambling companies as they prepare to grow strategies.

The SMA study also found that because fans could not attend games last year, they tended to support their teams by betting on them.

  • 36% of college basketball fans said they increased spending on sports gambling since March 2020.
  • 39% of NBA fans said they increased spending on sports gambling since March 2020.
  • 35% of college football fans said they increased spending on sports gambling since March 2020.

Our SMA study also revealed some interesting correlations between fantasy sports and gambling, but we don’t want to give away all the good stuff right here. The new data will be uploaded by the end of March. If you have any questions how you or your students can understand and use the data, we’re here to help. We’re also happy to host a 30-minute presentation for you and your students with highlights of our findings on this fascinating topic. Contact us at

Mark Sullivan
Neil Schwartz

Posted: 3/4/2021 3:23:36 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments