The American Gaming Association (AGA) has published new research that predicts a surge in sports betting activity related to the National Football League (NFL). The study, conducted on behalf of the AGA by Morning Consult, revealed that thirty-eight million American adults – 15% of the US adult population – are planning to bet on NFL games this season. 

According to the association, the rapid expansion of legal sports betting has provided increased opportunity for millions of Americans to bet safely with a licensed, regulated sportsbook.

“This year, seven million Americans say they will bet legally at a casino sportsbook, 1.2 million more than last year, and tens of millions of others will place bets with friends, participate in pools or squares contests or place their bets online,” it said.

The survey also found that nearly one-in-four (24%) American adults say they would place a bet on the NFL if it was legal in their state. It shows that 39% of avid NFL fans plan to place a bet on the NFL this season, while 75% of NFL bettors say they are more likely to watch a game they bet on.

Moreover, 28% are more likely to attend a game they have bet on, with 51% more inclined to watch pregame shows and commentary.

“During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments,” said Bill Miller, AGA’s President and CEO. “It is clear that as jurisdictions enact policies to provide a legal alternative to the dangerous illegal market, consumers follow suit and seek the protections they deserve.”

He added: “Sports betting clearly impacts fans’ enthusiasm for engaging with the NFL. As the legal market grows, it is imperative for gaming and adjacent industries to focus on implementing and promoting legal sports betting responsibly to protect consumers and ensure the viability of legal markets to the continued detriment of illegal operators.”

Among NFL fans, the New England Patriots are the favorite to win the Super Bowl (23 percent), followed by the Kansas City Chiefs (8%), Dallas Cowboys (7%) and New Orleans Saints (6%).