According to a survey done by the American Gaming Association (AGA), more than 33 million Americans plan to bet on the NFL season. That equates to about 13% of all adults across the country and is also a drop from last year.

There is lower enthusiasm from fans in general concerning the 2020-21 season, according to the AGA; however, the season will bring plenty of action. The season kicks off today, with the defending champions, Kansas City Chiefs, taking on the Houston Texans.

Football Fans Less Excited About This Season

The AGA estimates, that of the 33.2 million adults who plan to wager on this NFL season, 20% (6.6 million) will wager at physical, legal sportsbooks, up from 18% from last year.

Other figures include:

— 14% (11.3 million) will place a bet through legal and illegal online platforms, up from 29%.

— 18% (6 million) will wager with a bookie, either in person or via a mobile platform, up from 12%.

— 26% (8.6 million) will wager casually through pools, fantasy contests, and squares, down from 31%.

— 50% (16.6 million) will bet casually with friends, family, or coworkers, down from 53%.

This is a possible scenario of how the bets might look like for the current season. The AGA also shows that sports bettors are more excited (54%) than is the general population, of which only 18% are ready for some football.  Despite the lower interest, the stadiums are still going to do well, as they are projected to earn $2.3 billion per year from legal sports wagering.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller explains, “The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different.” He adds, “While we’ve known for a long time that bettors are more engaged fans—particularly when it comes to football—continuing to drive them to the legal market is essential for protecting consumers and the integrity of the games they wager on.”

The Actual Results Will Surprise Everyone

Although stadiums will restrict the number of fans and the season will look so different than ever before, gambling won’t stop that much. If other gambling segments are any indication, the AGA’s survey is much lower than what will actually be seen.  In some areas, the gambling figures are already surpassing last year’s levels.

Active engagement from sports bettors is very important to the NFL as a way to keep the league alive. The estimates reveal that four out of ten American adults feel less excited about this season compared to last year.  They complain about the political and social activism surrounding the league, lack of fans in stadiums and impossibility to join with friends to watch the games.

These are indeed the main aspects that have provoked a reduced interest among general fans. However, passion for football is always there, and although the circumstances aren’t that favorable, people can still enjoy the sport.  The NBA Bubble was expected to be a dud with fans but turned out to be wildly successful.

The Push For Legal Sports Gambling Continues

The AGA states that the league and its teams have signed 26 marketing and data sharing partnerships since May 2018, the month that the US Supreme Court told the leagues and lawmakers that they were wrong for having supported PASPA in 1992. Currently, 18 states across the country and Washington, D.C. offer legal, regulated sports wagering with another four still not operational, but close, and seven others analyzing legalization.

Provided that legal sports wagering continues to expand in the US, the number of American bettors increases, too, and are more inclined to use regulated books and online applications to place their bets, while unregulated options are still drawing attention.  More than a third of gamblers – 34% – plan on placing a bet through online apps, both legal and illegal, the poll mentions. That equals about 11.3 million adults and is up from 29% from last year.