Sports Gambling Growing as Sports Betting, DFS Becoming More Nuanced

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Mobile Betting


  • the crossover rate between sports bettors and DFS users is down year-to-year
  • Offshore sportsbooks have suffered as more states have legalized sports betting markets
  • About 60% of sports gamblers pay for premium packages of some form

Sports betting has exploded in America ever since it was made legal in a federal court in 2018, and as more time passes, industry experts are gaining a greater understanding of their audience.

A bevy of research led to the revelation of key bits of information at the FSGA Summer Conference in Cleveland, Ohio last week. Among the important notes were that sports gamblers are becoming increasingly selective with their betting channels, offshore sportsbooks are declining, and online sportsbooks are dominating. 

Several states have already legalized or expanded their sports betting markets in 2023. Information such as that shared at the conference will be paramount in helping those jurisdictions succeed ahead of schedule.

Important information revealed

According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA)’s website, “The future of fantasy sports and sports betting starts” at the recently-passed FSGA Conference.

The information that was shared was via a study conducted by public opinion and research company Angus Reid Group. It found that over 81 million adults participated in some form of sports betting or fantasy sports, representing a 7% increase year-to-year.

While one might draw the conclusion that the growth in sports gambling would mean that different verticals, including sports betting, both in-person and online, and fantasy gaming would all thrive. However, according to the study, that is not wholly accurate.

FSGA’s data revealed that the percentage of fantasy-only players grew from 13% to 21%, while sports betting purists grew from 28% to 34% during the same period. That growth of specificity led to a decrease from 59% to 45% amongst the crossover audience, or players that participated in both forms of sports gambling.

In addition, offshore sports betting suffered mightily. Non-native sportsbooks experienced a 48% decline year-to-year as the influence of legal sportsbooks won out. That was also likely helped by the expansion of sportsbooks into new states, such as New York, Maryland, and Kansas. Although the use of offshore sportsbooks was still illegal prior to those legislative updates, willing gamblers did not have regulated alternatives to turn to.

But while the user base for legal sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports proliferated, the base demographic did not. Younger White males still risked more money and did so more regularly than any other age, race, or sex.

Past, present, and future

While the development of overall growth under the confines of specificity was an interesting turn, it is impossible to argue against sports betting and general sports fandom is on the rise. According to the study, sports betting entry fees have grown by over $60 billion since 2017, which implies that bettors are more active and connected to the industry.

To back that up, roughly 60% of sports gamblers pay for special packages, whether that be streaming platforms, content plans, or betting tools, to enhance their participation as a fan and bettor. Fantasy players spent an average of $119 annually and bettors $129. 

FSGA Chair, Brandon Loeschner, said that the findings were encouraging for the long-term growth and stability of the industry. He also applauded the decreasing totals and frequency of offshore sportsbooks’ usage. 

As it stands, 38 states and Washington D.C. have legalized sports betting, the most recent being Vermont. North Carolina also recently expanded its sports betting market from in-person at three casinos only to legal online sportsbooks.

There are still grave concerns, however. The NFL has experienced a recent influx of gambling policy violations as the league struggles to reel in players amid the influence of sports betting and the league’s endorsement of it. Athletes at the professional and collegiate levels have also been vocal about receiving increased amounts of scrutiny and criticism since people became allowed to bet on their performances.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.