The Popularity of Gambling on the NFL

The Popularity of Gambling on the NFL

While Football has always been America’s game, gambling hasn’t and the growth of NFL betting sites was initially slow, but has now exploded. Yet now in this new age world of being able to bet on multiple markets on sports and the technology allowing you to do some from the comfort of your armchair, more and more bettors are taking a punt on American Football. We’ve now reached a stage where talking about NFL betting sites is part of the league’s programming, but it has come at a price with players landing bans ahead of next season already.

NFL Betting Popularity

In the 2021 NFL season alone it was reported that 45.2 million Americans wagered a bet on a NFL game or market. That’s a staggering 36% increase from the prior year as sports betting becomes more commonplace in the country. The 2022 regular season followed suit as 46.6 million Americans stated a desire to place a bet on NFL markets, in keeping with the positive changes seen around sports gambling. The most recent amount makes up 18% of the adult American population, meaning that betting on the NFL is truly entering the mainstream. Even if a person doesn’t do it themselves, there’s a chance they know someone who has put a bet on a match.

However, the Super Bowl is a different kind of beast. Ahead of the big showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs in February 2023, the American Gaming Association stated that 50.4 million Americans would place a bet on the big game. That accounts for 20% of the adult populace in the country, all placing a bet on the same match! The stakes varied from large spenders to happy-go-lucky 50-cent punts but the grand total wagered was rumoured to be $16 billion. This was only fitting really, as Super Bowl LVII was the first time the match was hosted by a state which had legalized online gambling.

Of course, this is helped by more states allowing gambling operations to take place within their borders. It’s noteworthy that some less-liberal governments are unlikely to endorse any kind of gambling.

Over in the United Kingdom, multiple sports gambling companies report that American Football is the largest of all American sports markets, dwarfing other entities like NBA, MLB, and NHL. However, it’s not as popular as soccer.

One of the reasons why betting on American Football is so popular to bet on is the wide array of markets available at any given point. Given there are 32 teams competing there’s always a fixture you might like the look of to bet on. Within a single game, you can opt for a plethora of markets like the match winner, and the overall score (whether it’ll be higher or lower than a set figure) among other basic metrics. Yet, given the data-heavy analytics lent to the sport, there are far more markets to predict i.e., you might want to gamble on the first touchdown scorer, the player with the longest yards, or if a QB will get sacked throughout the course of the game. It’s seemingly endless.

Effect on the NFL

With the less restrictive policies allowing more online platforms to operate in the US, the NFL has seen a good rise in viewer ratings. In 2022 with online sports gambling rifer and more transparent, the league recorded 17.9 million viewers on average per game. Forbes signalled this as a return to the glory days of the early 2010s when the competition last enjoyed a surge in popularity.

In addition to the revenue from increased ratings, it was reported by CNBC in 2021 that the gambling operator partnership(s) is set to earn more than $270 million for the NFL. The league is only too happy to take advantage of the changing public opinion and profit from it. TV viewers have since been subject to commercials from these companies as the NFL revoked its ban on them when it jumped on this opportunity.

Why your QB Shouldn’t Be Betting

Given the almighty rise of online sports betting it’s only natural to want to bet on it. Yet, some people shouldn’t such as NFL players betting on NFL scores. It lacks integrity and brings the sport under duress and individuals may perform in specific ways for personal gain rather than sporting merit. In a nutshell, it ruins the game.

The NFL like most sporting bodies strongly forbids players and anyone professionally linked to the sport from betting on all forms of American Football. Quintez Cephus, C.J. Moore, and Shaka Toney are three culprits from the Detroit Lions who’ve been banned indefinitely and will serve a suspension for a minimum of one year. Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill have also been punished yet the NFL ruled these two parties were not as guilty as the aforementioned three so are set to serve a six-week ban instead. These players already earn a lot of money, why do they need to do this?

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