Eight percent of American adults plan to place a bet on the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to a study released on Tuesday by the American Gaming Association.
The survey of 2,213 adults, conducted by Morning Consult, contends that these 20.5 million adults will place bets in excess of $1.8 billion on this year’s World Cup. The global sporting event begins on Sunday — in a Middle Eastern country for the first time — with the United States national team (USMNT) set to make their first appearance since 2014.
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While 78% of respondents indicated it was important to them to wager legally, the survey reflects multiple options, including betting with a bookie.
“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 U.S.,” AGA Senior Vice President Casey Clark said in a release. “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.”
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Legal wagering is available to 132 million Americans in 32 jurisdictions, compared to 10 million in three states in 2018 when the USMNT failed to qualify.
Respondents apparently plan to bet with their hearts. If given $50, 24 percent of those surveyed said they would bet on the United States to win the World Cup, followed by Brazil (19%), Argentina (17%), and Germany (10%).
That’s apparently being borne out at BetMGM, where the line on a US championship has moved from +10000 to +8000 and the Americans represent the sportsbook’s biggest liability with 11% of tickets.
Said Seamus Magee, a BetMGM sports trader: “Action on the World Cup feels similar to March Madness and we expect more bets to roll in as the tournament nears. Brazil and Argentina are betting favorites and would be tough outcomes for the sportsbook. BetMGM bettors are also backing the USA and Mexico heavily.”
The increased soccer profile in the United States, both through the domestic Major League Soccer and fandom for foreign teams, figures to increase interest in betting. Soccer and tennis are considered the most heavily patronized betting markets internationally.
The United States will host 11 venues for the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in a joint bid with Canada and Mexico.
From the AGA study:
- 9.8 million (48%) plan to place a bet on World Cup odds online.
- 6.0 million (29%) plan to place a casual bet with a friend.
- 4.7 million (23%) plan to place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook.
- 4.1 million (20%) plan to place a bet with a bookie.
- 3.5 million (17%) plan to place a bet as part of a paid pool or fantasy contest.
- 29% of American adults who plan to watch the World Cup intend to wager on the tournament.
- Gen Z (11%) and Millennial (14%) adults are more interested in betting on the World Cup than Gen X (8%) and Baby Boomers (2%).
Another study, commissioned by the BetterOff sports betting platform claims that half of Americans identifying themselves as sports fans plan to bet on the World Cup. The survey of 1,500 “self-identified adult sports fans where online sports betting is legal” claimed that 18% of respondents would be betting on soccer for the first time.
Other findings from the BetterOff survey:
- 68% plan to wager less than $200 over the course of the World Cup.
- 51% will focus bets on certain teams
- 13% will only bet on USMNT matches.
- Nearly 27% say they plan to bet on every match
- 79% said they will wager on games even if they can’t watch them, given the significant difference in time zones of starting times.