AGA Finds 20 Million Americans Plan On Olympics Betting

Posted on July 21, 2021 - Last Updated on July 25, 2021
Olympics betting
Posted By on July 21, 2021
Last Updated on July 25, 2021

More Americans than ever will legally participate in Olympics betting this year.

With the Tokyo Olympic Games starting Friday, the American Gaming Association released data estimating 20.1 million people plan to bet on this year’s Olympics.

During the 2018 Olympics, Nevada was the only state with an active legal market. Now, more than 100 million Americans live in the 22 markets with active legal sports betting.

AGA Olympics survey

As legal US sports betting continues to grow, the AGA launched its first-ever Olympics betting survey. Morning Consult conducted the survey of 2,200 Americans.

At the base of the survey is the 54% of American adults who are interested in the Tokyo Olympics.

Sport-by-sport breakdown for planned Olympics betting

Basketball and soccer, already popular sports to bet on in non-Olympic events, lead the way. The most popular Olympic events are close behind:

  • Basketball: 45%
  • Soccer: 34%
  • Gymnastics: 28%
  • Track and field: 27%
  • Swimming: 27%

Olympics betting methods

While there are more legal options than ever, the most popular option is still “casually with friends.” Betting with a bookie is still also a significant response:

  • 47% with friends
  • 43% online
  • 16% at retail sportsbook
  • 13% with bookie

Legal options play a role, as 10% who said they do not plan to bet would be more likely to do so if it were legal to bet on the Olympics where they live.

Not so fast in your state?

While more Americans have access to legal sports betting, there is no guarantee a market will allow bets on the Olympics. Each state has different regulations for what bettors can wager on.

StateLegal (Yes, No, Partly)
ArkansasYes.
ColoradoYes.
DelawareNo.
Washington DCPartly.
IllinoisPartly.
IndianaYes.
IowaPartly.
MichiganPartly.
MontanaYes.
MississippiYes.
NevadaYes.
New HampshirePartly.
New JerseyPartly.
New YorkPartly.
New MexicoPartly.
North CarolinaNo.
OregonYes.
PennsylvaniaPartly.
Rhode IslandYes.
TennesseePartly.
VirginiaYes.
West VirginiaYes.

There are also 41 disciplines in this year’s games. Sportsbook operators will vary in the sports they offer. What operators can offer can be a tricky proposition, as many events are scored subjectively by judges and include amateur athletes under the age of 18.

Many states at least partly allow Olympic betting and regulators approve sports on a case-by-case basis, with age often the largest limiting factor. Other states, like Colorado, have no restrictions.

States to outright prohibit Olympic betting include Delaware and North Carolina.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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