Americans spent a record 67.1 million minutes on sports betting apps in October 2023, according to an online gambling behavior study.
That is a 66% increase from October 2022, and more than the previous monthly record in February 2023, per GWS Magnify, which compiles consumer insights and metrics from sports betting apps in the US.
Total monthly active sports bettors are up 20% year-over-year in the U.S., as well, according to the study. It includes new data from Kentucky, Massachusetts and Ohio, which each launched sports betting in 2023. It excludes data from Maine and Florida, which started taking bets in November.
More time means more money bet
September set a US record for handle at $11.6 billion wagered. The total handle reported for October is $10.4 billion, though that is excluding Arizona, Colorado and Illinois. Assuming bettors in each of those states wagered similar figures to October of last year, October 2023 would be a new monthly handle record at roughly $12.5 billion bet.
“There is a very high correlation between time spent on the apps and money spent. It is something like roughly 97%,” said GWS President and CEO Dr. Paul Carter, who spearheaded the study.
That correlation suggests Americans are on pace to bet $110 billion online in 2023, up from the record $93 billion they bet in 2022, according to the American Gaming Association.
DraftKings, FanDuel most popular sports betting apps
Americans spent the most time on DraftKings, which has been the case since July when it overtook FanDuel.
Nearly 45% of the time they used a sports betting app in October, it was DraftKings.
That was followed by FanDuel, which accounted for 20% of minutes for the month.
ESPN Bet vaults into third in first month
Despite launching halfway into the month, ESPN Bet overtook BetMGM in November for the third most-popular app, according to the study.
ESPN Bet had the largest percentage of young people on its app, with 44% of its users under the age of 36, according to the study.
“We don’t notice that more time on sports betting apps means less time elsewhere. In general, everything is going up,” Carter said. “If an ESPN Bet continues to rise that will probably eat into other apps, but I don’t think how people using other apps will be impacted.”
Younger bettors growing fastest
Users ages 21 to 28 saw the largest year-over-year growth at a 36% increase in time spent on a sports betting app, but they do not appear to be creating large spending. In an accompanying survey, most of that group indicated they spend less than $5 weekly.
Most app users were between ages 37 and 44, accounting for 1.6 million of the total 7.9 million active app users. Users between 21 and 28 were the second-largest group, at 1.2 million.
Survey finds low loyalty to sports betting apps
In a separate study, GWS polled app users on their behavior, finding that:
- 47% of bettors spent time on more than one app
- 70% said they choose what app to use based on promos and boosts
- 20% responded that they choose what app to use based on the notifications those apps send them
Sportsbooks focus on stickiness
The data comes as companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, Fanatics, and more recently Penn Entertainment through its ESPN partnership have increasingly touted the virtues of an all-in-one sports viewing experience.
At a recent press conference in New York, Penn CEO Jay Snowden discussed the need to reroute bettors from using multiple apps to check scores and follow their bets, and his vision for integrating odds into more traditional sports content. Wall Street is closely watching how far ESPN intertwines with the sportsbook.
Ahead of launching its betting app in multiple states to start the NFL betting season, Fanatics quietly put the pieces in place to stream NFL games within its online sportsbook. Caesars became the first betting app to stream pro football games in late 2022.
“The more you can keep people in your app with different content, the more it will play a big part. If you go into an app just to make a bet, that doesn’t take long, but if you’re in there to watch the actual game itself, that will keep the actual engagement within the app much higher. Behavior can change quite rapidly,” Carter said.