Study: Betting Could Help Sports Attract Younger Fans

For horse racing, this crowd should provide target for some crossover.

Sports-betting adults are more affluent, younger, more diverse and better educated adults than the general population, according to an American Gaming Association commissioned study from Nielsen Sports.

The research identifies groundbreaking demographic and behavioral characteristics of self-identified bettors who the AGA believes will populate the future legal U.S. betting landscape. A second, forthcoming element of the project will estimate the amount of revenue this demographic can help unlock for the major U.S. sports leagues.

For horse racing, the crowd should provide a target for crossover.

Experts: Horse Racing Left at Gate in Digital Marketing

Among this crucial demographic for sports leagues and broadcasters, 71% of those research participants who currently bet with a bookie say they would shift some or all of their betting activity to a regulated market if they had access to a legal platform.

According to Nielsen Sports, 44% of sports bettors are adults under the age of 35, as opposed to 31% of the general population. Looking at household income, 29% earn $100,000 or more, almost double the proportion of the general population.

“The Nielsen Sports data supports what we’ve long expected: access to legal sports wagering will increase fan engagement in major sport contests and enable a significant revenue generation opportunity for major sports leagues and teams,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA. “Expanding access to legal sports betting will bring millennial audiences back to sports broadcasts and stadiums, which is a huge benefit for sport enterprises across the country.

“However, this potential will only be realized with proper policy frameworks that empower consumers with competitive odds, access to all bets, and the ability to tap into modern platforms including mobile. Without this focus on consumers, the illegal market will continue to thrive.”

Nielsen Sports surveyed more than 1,000 adult sports fans—including fans of the National Football League, major league baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League—and self-identified sports bettors nationwide, identifying demographics and consumption habits to quantify the value of the legal sports betting market.

Additional research is underway to quantify how much each league can realize from widely available, legal, regulated sports betting. Topline findings from the research are available here.