NFL Pushes The Envelope On Official Data As It Benefits From Sports Betting Expansion

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Expansion of regulated sports betting across the country will positively affect the NFL with increased fan engagement, according to a survey released by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

That’s especially interesting when evaluating the Shield‘s recent push through its official league data distributor to capture more money from sportsbooks.

The AGA asserts that 38 million Americans — 15% of the adult population — are planning to bet on NFL games this season, which kicked off Thursday.

Sports betting available in far more areas

Thirteen states now offer legal sports betting, with five more states and the District of Columbia poised to open legal markets in the coming months. Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania and Oregon began offering sports betting following the last NFL season.

Last month, the total amount bet legally on sports since the Supreme Court decision to repeal PASPA crossed $10 billion.

The NFL, which opposed the overturning of PASPA and still supports federal legislation for sports betting, figures to benefit. AGA President Bill Miller engaged that subject in a call last week:

“I think this is a very positive step for sports betting and a very positive step for the NFL as they look at what their fans want to be engaged with in and around the sport. … I believe the NFL is going to continue to realize that this is a benefit to them and something that really doesn’t require a federal piece of legislation or federal framework because states and the 4,000 regulators that regulate our industry are very capable of regulating sports betting in the high quality manner that they regulate the rest of our industry.”

Impact of legal sports betting on NFL

The rapid expansion of legal sports betting is providing increased opportunity for millions of Americans to bet safely with a licensed, regulated sportsbook. The AGA expects 1.2 million more people to gamble legally at a casino sportsbook this year, with more placing legal bets online.

“During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments,” Miller said. “It is clear that as jurisdictions enact policies to provide a legal alternative to the dangerous, illegal market, consumers follow suit and seek the protections they deserve.”

A survey of 11,000 American adults, conducted by Morning Consult in August, found:

Increased fan engagement = more money for the NFL

The NFL is looking to making money directly from sportsbook operators with partner Sportradar asking bookkeepers to pay 1.5% of net profit for access to the official NFL data feed.

The AGA study indicates the NFL already will realize a financial windfall from increased fan engagement generated by sports betting.

Miller repeated that 75% of NFL bettors are more likely to watch a game they bet on.

“If you are in the NFL and you read that statistic, as you are thinking of renegotiating your broadcast deals and what that means in terms of fans’ engagement, that is a meaningful stat. I think the view of folks in the NFL has shifted in terms of sponsorship deals and advertising, even as it relates to data.”

A previous AGA study showed that the NFL stands to gain $2.3 billion annually from legalized sports betting, largely due to increased fan engagement. The AGA’s sports betting consumer study found that bettors are more interested in the NFL than any other professional sports league.

“The NFL has typically been a little more cautious than some of the other leagues, but I think they certainly recognize what sports betting means in terms of fan engagement and they understand it’s a great opportunity to keep fans more engaged than they’ve ever been before,” Miller said.

Mobile matters for sports betting revenue

States have been slower to adopt mobile sports betting than the retail variety. Rhode Island finally launched mobile betting ahead of the NFL season but must withstand a lawsuit.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked legislative efforts to allow New Yorkers statewide to place bets electronically at upstate casinos, while states such as Iowa require in-person registration to use a mobile app.

The AGA study indicated that mobile betting is an important part of connecting fans with the sport.

“Our survey work showed there was a higher percentage of individuals who would place a bet on an NFL game if reasonably convenient to them,” Miller said. “Convenience is an important part of sports betting.”

AGA forecasts continued betting expansion

Miller said sports betting legislation is moving quickly:

“To be able to go from a situation where there was one state in the country where a person can place bets to a situation where now we have 13 states — recognizing how difficult it is to move legislation and get legislative hearings, markeups, votes, reconciliation between House and Senate, and then enacted by the governor all within one year — is nothing short of remarkable.”

As legislators see neighboring states legalize sports betting, he expects they will continue to move quickly on regulating the activity at home.

“I think there is an appetite for sports betting and we’ll see it move pretty quickly,” Miller said. “Certainly within five years, I think we’ll see nearly all the states with some form of sports betting.”