AGA report highlights need for education on legal betting in the US

A new AGA report has highlighted that there is still a lot of confusion over legal betting in the US.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has pledged to double down on its education efforts after new research revealed that more than half of the consumers who bet with unlicensed operators in the US did not know they gambled illegally.

The study was carried out by the market research consultancy Heart + Mind Strategies on behalf of the AGA. The study ran from December 2019 to January 2020 and featured 3,451 interviews with American adults aged 21 and over.

The findings

According to the findings, 74% of respondents said it was important to only bet with legal operators and 52% admitted to gambling with illegal operators in 2019. However, 55% of those who bet with unlicensed sites were unaware that these sites were illegal.

Figures from the survey also suggest that the expansion of the regulated gambling market in the US was cannibalising the revenue and handle for offshore operators.

The study revealed that the average spend with illegal operators fell by 25% last year in states where sports betting was legalised. Legal online and mobile gambling spend saw a 12% year-on-year increase.

The main reason consumers switched from illegal operators to legal operators was that they had more confidence that their bets would be paid out. According to the findings, 25% of consumers said that the made the switch to legal betting sites as they had more confidence in them. About 20% of consumers said they were more aware of legal betting options, 20% said they want to bet with a legal operator.

The AGA also recorded a 3% increase in betting activity with illegal offshore operators in states with legal betting options.

AGA president and chief executive 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.”

AGA commits to enhanced education initiatives

Based on the findings, the AGA said it would commit to enhanced education initiatives and programs to help consumers improve their knowledge of legal gambling options.

The AGA currently runs an interactive map on its site that shows the legal status of sports betting across the US state. This resource also includes a directory of licensed online and land-based sports betting options in states with legal betting.

On top of this, the AGA is currently working with law enforcement at a federal and state level to raise awareness of the illegal offshore gambling market. The AGA also works with publishers and media to ensure platforms to do not promote illegal offshore sites.

Miller added: “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.”

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