On Thursday, September 15, the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) announced the release of a Nielsen Sports study. The study surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults (ages 18+), and an additional 500 pre-qualified NFL bettors, and concludes that the federal ban on sports betting is depriving NFL TV partners and advertisers of significantly greater revenue through higher ratings and uniquely engaged viewers.  Specifically, the study estimates that the number of NFL regular season viewers who bet on sports could jump from 40M to 57M if sports betting were legalized.

According to the study, adults who bet on the NFL watched 19 more games in the 2015 regular season than adults who did not bet at all. Sports bettors consisted of 25% of the total 2015 NFL regular season audience.

The study also concludes that betting on game outcomes is twice as popular as daily fantasy sports among avid sports fans, by a 51% to 26% margin. Among NFL-specific bettors, 46% bet on a single game outcome versus 28% who played daily fantasy.

“The federal government ban on sports betting is failing miserably,” commented Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “Broadcasters and advertisers who desire highly engaged viewers would reap the benefits of shifting tens of millions of sports betters from the $150 billion underground betting market to a legal, transparent environment that’s similar to what exists in Nevada, across Europe and elsewhere around the world.”

The AGA estimates before kicking off the 2016 NFL season that fans across the country will bet $90 billion on NFL and college football games this season with $88 billion, or 98%, of all bets being made illegally. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”), a federal government ban on sports betting, was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Currently Delaware, Oregon and Montana permit some form of legal sports betting, while the vast majority of traditional sports wagering occurs in Nevada.

The AGA is building a broad coalition that will determine whether a rational alternative to current sports betting law exists. Such an alternative could include strict regulation, rigorous consumer protections and robust tools for law enforcement to eliminate illegal sports betting and strengthen the integrity of games. For more information visit: SportsBettingInAmerica.com.


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