According to a survey by the American Gaming Association, more than 73 million Americans plan to bet on the NFL this season, an almost 60% increase from last year.
Despite being a huge football fan, John Wolohan, a sports law professor at Syracuse University, won’t be a part of that record-breaking number.
“I do not bet on sports. I bet once, and I was too nervous," he said. "I really do enjoy football and enjoy watching it, but the thing is, if I put money on the game, it just ruins the experience.”
Wolohan has spent years studying different areas of sports law, including betting. The way people bet has drastically changed as it’s become more accepted and in the open.
“Up until five years ago, most bets were basically black-market bets," Wolohan said. "So I’d go to my local bookie, I’d place money with him. And so those were black-market bets, whereas today, those bets are going through the casinos.”
Because of that, mobile sports betting has exploded, giving bettors so many different options they can wager on.
“We’ve got our phones, and we’re constantly betting," he said. "So we’re doing a lot more prop bets, a lot more kind of in-game betting. So I can bet a lot more times now on a single event as opposed to before. I was betting on just a single event.”
More bets mean more money is being wagered.
“The numbers are going up," Wolohan said. "The latest figures, if you look at last football season, they were doing about $1.5 to $1.6 billion a month just during the football season.”
According to the New York State Gaming Commission, more than $8 billion in mobile sports bets were placed between Sept. 5, 2022, and Super Bowl Sunday in February 2023.
“New York also has a 51% tax on sports gambling, the highest in the country," Wolohan said.
Of those bets, the state got more than $380 million in tax revenue. For this NFL season, the numbers were up during week one.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission, $416 million in mobile sports bets were placed the week ending Sept. 10, the day before Monday Night Football.
The state got $28 million in tax revenue. That’s up from $330 million and more than $16 million in tax revenue last year.
Most of that revenue goes to education, as well as $6 million for addiction programs and $5 million for youth sports.
It’s not going to stop until the big game.
“The NFL Super Bowl generates more revenue, more legal bets, than any other event," said Wolohan. "And from now until the Super Bowl, people are going to bet, and it's going to keep going.”