Americans are expected to bet a record $1.8 billion for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it, “the most bet-upon soccer event ever in the U.S.,” according to the American Gaming Association. The gambling authority predicts more than 20 million Americans plan to place bets throughout the month of play.
Worldwide, gamblers wagered around $160 billion on the World Cup in 2018, but barely any of it came from the U.S.
What’s different now
Back in 2018, only 10 million Americans in three states were eligible to place legal bets on the World Cup. Those states were Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
While sports betting has been legal in Nevada since 1931, other states fell under a federal ban on sports betting passed in 1992 called Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA. But on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the act, agreeing with a challenge from the state of New Jersey. By the time the World Cup kicked off on June 14, Delaware and New Jersey had passed legislation to make betting legal.
At the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 30 states and Washington D.C., have live, legal betting. Five other states have legalized sports betting and are pending launch, while Florida legalized betting but remains in limbo, with no access to sports betting in the state at this time due to court challenges.
Betting by the numbers
- The American Gaming Association estimates 132 million Americans are now eligible to bet on the World Cup, compared with the 10 million eligible four years ago.
- AGA says Gen Z (11%) and Millennial (14%) adults are more interested in betting on the World Cup than Gen X (8%) and Baby Boomers (2%).
- Nearly half of World Cup bettors plan to place bets online, AGA said.
- On average, there will be more than $1 billion bet worldwide on each match of the monthlong FIFA World Cup, Sportsradar estimated.