Sports Betting Demographics and the U.S. States that are Cashing-in

Updated on October 25th, 2022 by Brad Perniciaro

A few years ago, if you wanted to bet on a game, you had to either travel to Nevada or that weird parking lot where you met your bookie. But In 2018, everything changed.

On May 14th of that fateful year, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), which prohibited most states from legalizing sports betting. The ruling opened the floodgates for all states to make their own decisions about legal gambling.

The infographic below summarizes bettor demographics across the country and highlights which U.S. states benefit the most from the sports betting craze. Contact us if you’d like to use this infographic on your site.

Sports Betting Infographics

How Many States Currently Allow Sports Betting?

Since the Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association case concluded, twenty-five additional states have joined Nevada in legalizing sports betting. Twenty-one states allow online sports betting, and another five require bettors to place their wagers in person.

For those states that require in-person wagering, you must place your bet through a government-sanctioned institution (typically a casino).

States that make the most money from sports wagering

Since legalization, some states have already generated revenue topping a billion dollars. Amazingly, New Jersey has surpassed Nevada as the state with the most sports betting revenue in this time period.

Although New Jersey revenue has soared, Nevada is still a close second. Here are the top five U.S. states in total sports betting revenue (since the 2018 ruling).

  1. New Jersey – $1.96B
  2. Nevada – $1.44B
  3. Pennsylvania – $1.17B
  4. Illinois – $987M
  5. New York – $823M

How States Generate Massive Revenue

The number one constant in gambling is that “the house” almost always wins. In sports wagering, the states are the house, making their money by taking a percentage cut of every wager made (known as the hold or vig).

These mandatory fees ensure the stakes make money, stuffing their coffers with tax revenue for state projects.

Calculating the cost of making a sports wager

Let’s say you make a $100 bet on a football game. If you lost your bet, you’d be out $100. If you win your best, you might think you’d walk away with $200. But that’s not the case.

The bookie always keeps a percentage (varies by state) of your winnings. For example, if you won your bet in a state with a 10% hold percentage, you’d be awarded $190 for your $100 bet.

To calculate this, you first multiply your bet by the hold percentage. In this case, that’s $100 x 10%, or $10. Subtract that $10 from your total winnings ($100), and you get $90. So you’d get your original wager back ($100) and your winnings minus the hold ($90), for a total of $190.

Which states are friendliest to sports bettors?

The fees to make a sports bet vary wildly from state to state, with some states charging almost three times as much as others. For example, hold percentages range from as high as 14.7% in Delaware charges to as low as 5.62% in Nevada.

Here’s how the state rank when it comes to charging sports betting fees:

Most Expensive States

  • Deleware – 14.7%
  • Montana – 13.4%
  • Washington D.C. – 12.4%
  • Maryland – 11.9%
  • Mississippi – 11.2%

Least Expensive States

  • Nevada – 5.62%
  • Colorado – 6.2%
  • Iowa – 6.3%
  • New Hampshire – 6.7%
  • New Jersey – 6.7%

Sports Bettor Demographics in the U.S.

Sports betting in America cuts across all lines of gender, race, and geography. That said, recent studies have gathered more specific information about which groups participate the most.

You might be surprised to learn that half of the U.S. adult population has made at least one sports bet in their life. That’s fifty percent of roughly 210 million adults in the United States.

That’s a fantastic stat that foreshadows how epic the potential market is for sports gambling in the coming years.

How the sexes compare in betting habits

As you might have guessed, the number of male sports bettors dwarfs their female counterparts. Three out of every four sports gamblers are men (72% versus 28%).

But somewhat unexpectedly, if you compare bettors who make daily bets, men (18%) and women (17%) are evenly split.

How bettors break down by race

According to data gathered by sportsbooks of DraftKings and FanDuel, 83% of sports bettors are white, 11% are black, 4% are Latino, and 1% are Asian.

Breaking down the age groups of sports gamblers

When it comes to betting on sports, the most prolific age groups are 21-34 (28%) and 35-44 (31%) by a significant margin. Only 10% of people 45-64 and 5% of people 65 and older admitted to betting once a month or more.

Legal Gambling vs. Illegal gambling

The majority of people that wager on sports tend to do it legally (if they have the option, by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio). The percentage of legal gamblers may continue to rise as sports betting becomes more and more accessible.

Even with the rapid expansion of legal gambling, some people still choose to do it illegally. This could be due to habits, lower fees, or some combination of other factors.

What is the Future of Sports Betting in the US?

The growth of the sports betting market has been incredible, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Projections predict that by 2029 there could be over 167 billion dollars legally wagered annually.

Five new states have proposed some version of sports betting laws that will be voted on this year, and more are sure to follow. There’s no putting this genie back in the bottle, especially given the revenue that states are now generating.

If you were a betting man (or woman), the smart money now is on a big win for legal sports betting.

About the author

Brad Perniciaro

Brad is a software developer and has been running successful fantasy football leagues since 1999. When he isn't playing fantasy football, he's writing about fantasy football.

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