The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released a new study assessing player behaviours in the legal US betting market.
In the association’s findings, it was revealed that over half of players in the country had wagered with an unregulated operator and not known they had bet illegally.
3,451 American adults aged over 21 were interviewed for the research, which was carried out between December 2019 and January 2020.
In states that have regulated sports betting, consumers spent less on average with unlicensed operators last year – compared to 2018.
Player attitudes towards regulated operators are largely positive
According to the AGA’s findings, almost three quarters (74%) of research participants said they believe it’s important to only bet with legal operators. However, 52% of individuals had bet on sports via illegal brands in 2019. Confusion seemed to be a contributing factor; 55% of those who had wagered with unlicensed operators thought they were betting in a legal manner.
In US states where sports betting is legal, average spending with unregulated operators dropped by a quarter. Coinciding with this, 12% more was spent via legal mobile and online means.
There were a variety of reasons that US players chose to move towards regulated operators last year. 25% did so because they were more confident about their winnings being paid out. Another 20% cited having a greater awareness of what their legal choices were. Meanwhile, 19% of users wanted to use a licensed sportsbook.
General attitudes in the US towards gambling have also improved. In June, it was revealed by Gallup that these were at an all-time high.
Work still needs to be done
Despite the promising statistics that highlight Americans’ attitudes towards licensed operators, the job is still far from finished. While players in states where sports betting is legal showed a preference for regulated brands, there was still a 3% increase in bets with illegal offshore regulators.
AGA President and Chief Executive Bill Miller said the following about the newly-released findings.
“We’ve known for a long time that Americans like to bet on sports. This research affirms their interest in moving toward the protections of the legal market.
“Giving consumers convenient alternatives to the illegal market, like regulated mobile offerings and competitive odds, is key for getting bettors to switch to legal channels.
“Illegal, offshore operators continue to take advantage of unknowing consumers. This only worsened during the sports shutdown, with unregulated bookmakers offering odds on everything from the weather and shark migration patterns to whether your friends’ marriage will survive the pandemic.
“The AGA is focused on educating customers on how to wager legally and the dangers of the illegal market, especially with the return of the MLB and NBA this month.”