As more states legalize sports betting across the country, the  amount of money wagered on the NFL this year is expected to be bigger than ever.

Roughly 13% of American adults plan to bet on NFL games, a survey from the American Gaming Association conducted Aug. 24-27 indicates. Just north of one-third of those bettors said they planned to make NFL wagers online, up from 29% last year.

One out of five Americans who plan to wager on the NFL said they would place a bet at a legal, physical sportsbook. That number was 18% last year.

Half of the 13% who plan to bet said they will bet casually with people they know. That’s down from 53% a year ago.



Americans wager more on football than any other sport. Approximately $1.9 billion was bet on football in Nevada last year, an increase of $100 million from the record set in 2018. In its first full year of legal sports betting, New Jersey saw $939.3 million bet on football in 2019.

The NFL returns Thursday night after a seven-month hiatus. The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs host the Houston Texans in the 2020 Kickoff Game. The rest of the teams open their season Sunday or Monday.

The entire preseason was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

About 42% of Americans say they are less excited for this NFL season in large part because of increased political activism, the AGA reports. Sports bettors are ready for games to return, with 54% saying they are excited about the start of the season. Only 41% of avid and general NFL fans said they were excited.

“The NFL traditionally drives a significant amount of action from sports bettors, and this year appears to be no different,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said. “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.”

Americans now can bet legally on sports in 18 states and Washington, D.C. Thirteen states offered legal sports betting at the start of the 2019 NFL season.