Recent research by the American Gaming Association (AGA) indicates that the battle against unauthorised sports betting operators is beginning to tip in favour of the newly regulated market, with customers turning their business away from illegal bookies and towards legal alternatives.
According to the report, average spending on illegal bookies decreased last year by 25 percent in legal sports betting states, while legal online and mobile betting increased by 12 percent. Illegal offshore operators also saw an spike in legal sports betting states of 3 percent.
For bettors who have moved from the illegal to legal market, the most important factors are confidence that bets will be paid out (25 percent), knowledge of legal options (20 percent), and a willingness to use a controlled book (19 percent).
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said: “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.”
Bettors overwhelmingly prefer legal operators, 74 percent of whom claim it’s necessary to bet only through legal operators. Despite this, in 2019, 52 percent of sport bettors took part in the illicit market. The study found that online operators are primarily motivated by misinformation about illegal sports betting. More than half of consumers (55 percent) who put most of their wagers with illegal operators believed they were betting lawfully.
Miller continued: “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.”
The interactive sports betting map of the AGA provides a detailed list of licenced online sportsbooks and retail sportsbooks in states where sports betting is legal. Moreover, the AGA actively collaborates with federal and state law enforcement authorities to improve mutual awareness of the illegal marketplace; involve newspapers and media to ensure that their outlets do not facilitate the illegal marketplace; and inform the public about the risks associated with illicit sports betting operators;
While states continue to explore legalising sports betting, AGA ‘s newly revised sports betting principles urge lawmakers to develop regulatory mechanisms that protect customers, ensure rigorous enforcement, establish a competitive environment and foster consumer convenience.