The upcoming FIFA World Cup is set to be the most bet-upon soccer event in US soccer history, with a total of $1.8bn projected to be wagered during the tournament.
According to a report from the American Gaming Association, 20.5 million American adults are intending on placing bets on the World Cup, with 72% of those planning to place traditional bets either online, with a bookie, or at a physical sportsbook.
In a survey conducted between Nov. 3-5 across a sample of 2213 adults, the AGA found that 48% of bettors plan to place a bet online, with 29% planning to place a bet with a friend, 23% at a physical casino sportsbook, 20% with a bookie and 17% as part of a paid pool or fantasy contest.
The FIFA World Cup begins on Sunday when host nation Qatar takes on Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor.
“As the first World Cup with widespread availability of legal sports betting, this will certainly be the most bet-upon soccer event ever in the US,” said AGA Senior Vice President Casey Clark.
“With more than half of all American adults having access to legal betting options in their home market, legal sports betting will deepen American fan engagement in the most-watched sporting event in the world.”
The 2022 World Cup is the first one with the availability of sports betting, with the 2018 World Cup in Russia taking place just weeks following the repeal of PASPA.
Another survey, commissioned by BettorOff, found that 49% of self-described sports fans planned to bet on the tournament, 18% of which will be betting on soccer for the very first time.
With the US, Canada, and Mexico all competing in the 2022 tournament and jointly hosting the 2026 edition of the competition, momentum is being built towards future betting patterns.
The BettorOff survey also found that 74% of respondents said they planned to bet more on soccer after the World Cup.
“There is an exciting intersection of interest and opportunity surrounding the World Cup,” said Alex Dubin, CEO and founder of BettorOff. “As pro soccer and online sports betting explode across the US, we expect this World Cup to be a tipping point for soccer fans and bettors across the country.”
The AGA survey also noted that Gen Z (11%) and Millennial (14%) adults are more interested in betting on the World Cup than Gen X (8%) and Baby Boomers (2%).
Key findings from the BettorOff survey also included that 68% of bettors plan to wager less than $200 across the month, with 51% focusing bets on certain teams.
This could place further importance on US performance, with 13% claiming they only plan to place bets on matches that the USMNT takes part in.
Nearly 27% of those surveyed noted that they plan to bet on all 64 games at the tournament and 79% say they will wager on games even if they cannot watch them, owing to the time zone difference.
Meanwhile, the AGA survey found that If they were given $50 to bet, most Americans would put their money on the United States (24%) to win the World Cup, followed by Brazil (19%), Argentina (17%), and Germany (10%).
“As the World Cup kicks off, anyone getting in on the action should have a game plan to bet responsibly. That means setting a budget, keeping it fun, learning the odds, and playing with legal, regulated operators,” Clark added.