AGA evaluates the US legal betting market

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 24 Jul 2020, 1:36 p.m.

This week The American Gaming Association (AGA) has issued a report in which it has assessed the player’s behaviour in the legal US betting market. Over 3400 Americans aged over 21 participated in the study which took place in the period between December 2019 and January 2020.

Positive attitude towards legal operators 

In the AGA’s findings, it was confirmed that more than half of the US players placed bets on a site of an unregulated operator. Namely, 74% of respondents said that it was important for them to bet with legal operators, and 52% admitted that they were involved with illegal operators in 2019. However, 55% of those who bet with unlicensed operators were unaware that these sites were illegal.

On the other hand, findings show that the average spend on illegal operators fell by 25% in states where sports betting is regulated. The legal online and mobile gambling spend noticed a 12% year-on-year rise, which also can be attributed to the gaming industry growth in the states that have legalised online sports betting activities. 

The main reason consumers switched to legal operators was that they were more confident in terms of the payout system. About 20% of players reported that they were more conscious about the legal betting options because of the provider’s transparency. The AGA also noticed a 3% increase in betting activities with illegal offshore operators in states with legal betting options.

The president and CEO of AGA Bill Miller expressed his opinion on the findings, adding they’ve been aware that Americans like to bet on sports. This research only proved the interest of the audience to move towards the legal, regulated market. Moreover, providing consumers with convenient and safe market alternatives such as competitive odds and regulated mobile offers are crucial for players to switch to legal channels.  

A lot of initiatives are in progress 

Based on the findings, the AGA said they would commit to enhance programs and initiatives to help consumers improve their awareness of legal gambling options.

Currently, the AGA runs an interactive map on its site that shows the legal status of sports betting across the US. This map includes a directory of licenced online and land-based betting options in states where betting is legal.

The AGA is currently working with law enforcement at a federal and state level to stop the illegal offshore gambling market activities. Publishers, influencers and media are also involved to ensure platforms don’t promote illegal offshore sites.

AGA to enhance education initiatives 

Miller added that illegal offshore operators continue to take advantage of the consumers, and this only got worse during the sports shutdown. Unregulated bookmakers were offering odds on basically every topic- from esports to sharks and weather reports. In previous testimony, Miller emphasised that the only way to protect consumers and providers from corruption and shady behaviour is through continuous legalisation and education programs. A similar approach was adopted by the BGC, a UK gaming regulator that supported a £10m education programme for recognising risky gambling activities. 

Gaming operators that have been legally operating across the States are keen to avoid scandals and breaches related to the business. As a reminder, licenced Nevada sportsbooks have been the first to uncover match-fixing, identifying irregular betting patterns and alerting regulations. AGA stays on a determined and focused note to educate the audience on how to wager legally while pointing out the danger of the illegal betting market.