• Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

A record 46.6 million Americans plan to bet on the NFL this season, up 3% from last year, according to survey results released Wednesday by the American Gaming Association.

As the NFL season kicks off Thursday, 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have launched legal betting markets, and a handful more are gearing up to get into the bookmaking business in the coming months. Voters in California will decide in November whether allow legal sports betting in the state.

More than $50.4 billion has been bet with American sportsbooks already in 2022, according to the AGA.

Data firm Morning Consult conducted the survey of 2,210 Americans on behalf of the AGA in late August. The survey results indicate:

• 23 million American adults plan to bet online this season, up 18% from 2021, while 10.6 million plan to bet in-person.

• 13% of NFL bettors say they will use an unlicensed bookmaker this season, a 2% year-over-year decrease. Betting with bookies is 50% higher in states without legalized sports betting, the survey found.

• 89% of Americans who bet on sports the past year indicated that it is “very or somewhat important” to bet with a legal, regulated sportsbook.

“The sustained interest in NFL wagering reflects the growth and continued maturation of legal sports betting across the country,” AGA president and CEO Bill Miller said in a release announcing the findings. “Consumers clearly want legal betting options and understand the regulated industry’s foundational commitments to responsibility.”

September is Responsible Gaming Education Month. The survey found that 92% of American sports bettors are aware of responsible gambling tools.

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