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Records broken in legal sports wagering and fantasy sports participation

14 June 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Research conducted by Leger for the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association revealed significant growth in both legal sports wagering and fantasy sports participation over the last year.

According to the study, unveiled during the FSGA Summer Conference at the MGM Grand Detroit, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults (defined as those 18+) – or 60.2 million – now bet on sports. This represents a 9.4 million increase (20% Year Over Year) compared to 2021. Meanwhile, 50.4 million, a fifth of all Americans 18+, now play fantasy sports, a 6 million increase (13.5% YOY) versus 2021 when the U.S. sports industry was still in the throes of the COVID pandemic.

Overall, 69.5 million U.S. adults either bet on sports or play fantasy sports and a whopping 59% of the 69.5 million do both. For comparison, this crossover number is up 3.4 million (9% YOY) over 2021.

“The expansion of legal sports wagering and the post-pandemic bounce back for fantasy sports is very encouraging to see,” said FSGA Chair Stacie Stern. “I’m also excited to see greater diversity of participants throughout our industries.”

The increasing availability of legal sports wagering has not slowed fantasy sports participation. The FSGA-Leger study also showed that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) continued to grow with over 30 million U.S. adults playing, a 12% increase over 2019 when the number was last calculated. The crossover between DFS players and season-long fantasy players is up significantly, too.

Additionally, regulated sports betting has led to an overall increase in female bettors. In 2019, females made up 20% of sports bettors (9.2 million). In 2022, the number is 34% of sports bettors – 20.6 million – a growth of 11.4 million women betting on sports since 2019.

Other findings included:

- There’s very little cannibalization across the two industries with 98% of sports bettors that participated in fantasy sports before starting to bet continuing to play fantasy sports;
- For sports bettors, 31% of the handle is on live bets (indicating significant room for growth in this area);
- 63% of bettors wager online, making online sportsbooks and apps the most popular way to bet on sports;
- In states that have been regulated, the percentage of users that bet on unregulated sites exclusively drops from 59% to 24%; however, only 19% of unregulated site users know that the sites they are using are unregulated.

“This last point represents an incredible opportunity for increased consumer education and ensuring equitable state licensing structures that allow for open, competitive markets” noted Stern.

Data from the FSGA-Leger study also took a deep dive into the key market demographics and behavior of a sports bettor and a fantasy sports player. NFL remains the most popular game to bet on, followed by NBA, MLB and college sports. For fantasy sports, it’s NFL, MLB and NBA with eSports making a huge jump among DFS players.

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Records broken in legal sports wagering and fantasy sports participation is republished from