What you need to know

Sports betting continues to become more prominent across sports leagues and the country. At the time of publication, 18 states now have legal, regulated sports betting industries with three more states having passed laws legalizing it. As legalized sports betting becomes more widespread across the US, sports entities and brands alike are looking for ways to get involved. Every major US sports league and many individual teams have created partnerships with a sports betting firm and many consumers are adding to their sports experience through betting. In 2019, over $13 billion was wagered legally in the US, nearly doubling the $6.6 billion in 2018. While the COVID-induced sports stoppage impacted the betting industry, it has surged back and continues to show positive signs moving forward.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the sports betting market

  • How the COVID-19 recession will affect sports betting

  • Why consumers choose or choose not to wager on sports

  • The future of sports betting


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

A sports bettor is any respondent who has ever participated in betting on a sporting event among friends, a sporting event at a casino, a sporting event online or through an app, or bet on daily fantasy sports.

A respondent open to sports betting is someone who indicates interest in betting on any of the following sports in the future: pro football, pro basketball, college football, baseball, college basketball, horse racing, boxing/MMA, soccer, auto racing, eSports, hockey or golf.

A sportsbook is a betting operator where a person can wager on sporting events. The sportsbook can either be in person or online. Online betting is any wager that is placed through the internet, while mobile betting takes place through a mobile application or on a mobile device. For the purposes of this Report, mobile betting and online betting refer to any wager not placed in person at a sportsbook.

COVID-19: market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic; on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US. 

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April and remained in place through May and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, nonessential businesses closed, school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations and professional and collegiate sports across the country came to a halt, leaving little available to be bet on.

During reemergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans. During this time, sports have returned to resume unfinished seasons or play abbreviated seasons – all with no or limited fans in attendance. Online sportsbooks are operating as normal and in-person sportsbooks have reopened with safety precautions in place. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021, until a vaccine is available.

Economic and other assumptions

The analysis provided reflects an estimated range of the market’s prospects in light of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Our economic assumptions are based on CBO 10-year economic projections released on July 2, 2020. The CBO expects US GDP to fall by 5.8% in 2020 and recover to 4.0% growth in 2021.Unemployment estimates from the CBO indicate a 10.6% rate for 2020 and declining to 8.4% for 2021, which is slightly more positive than initial expectations (11.5% in 2020 and 9.3% in 2021) though expectations are that it will remain above 5% through 2025.

Back to top