Records broken in legal sports wagering and fantasy sports participation

By Will Mossa,    Uncategorized

June 14, 2022
Contact: Michael Fiez
(608) 310-7547 –  

Records broken in legal sports wagering
and fantasy sports participation

Exclusive study also reveals strong growth in female bettors and eSports DFS players; opportunities for consumer education around differences between regulated and unregulated betting sites

DETROIT – Research conducted by Leger for the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) revealed significant growth in both legal sports wagering and fantasy sports participation over the last year.

According to the study, unveiled during the FSGA Summer Conference at the MGM Grand Detroit, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults (defined as those 18+) – or 60.2 million – now bet on sports. This represents a 9.4 million increase (20% Year Over Year) compared to 2021. Meanwhile, 50.4 million, a fifth of all Americans 18+, now play fantasy sports, a 6 million increase (13.5% YOY) versus 2021 when the U.S. sports industry was still in the throes of the COVID pandemic.

Overall, 69.5 million U.S. adults either bet on sports or play fantasy sports and a whopping 59% of the 69.5 million do both. For comparison, this crossover number is up 3.4 million (9% YOY) over 2021.

“The expansion of legal sports wagering and the post-pandemic bounce back for fantasy sports is very encouraging to see,” said FSGA Chair Stacie Stern. “I’m also excited to see greater diversity of participants throughout our industries.”

The increasing availability of legal sports wagering has not slowed fantasy sports participation. The FSGA-Leger study also showed that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) continued to grow with over 30 million U.S. adults playing, a 12% increase over 2019 when the number was last calculated. The crossover between DFS players and season-long fantasy players is up significantly, too.

Additionally, regulated sports betting has led to an overall increase in female bettors. In 2019, females made up 20% of sports bettors (9.2 million). In 2022, the number is 34% of sports bettors – 20.6 million – a growth of 11.4 million women betting on sports since 2019.

Other findings included:

  • There’s very little cannibalization across the two industries with 98% of sports bettors that participated in fantasy sports before starting to bet continuing to play fantasy sports;
  • For sports bettors, 31% of the handle is on live bets (indicating significant room for growth in this area);
  • 63% of bettors wager online, making online sportsbooks and apps the most popular way to bet on sports;
  • In states that have been regulated, the percentage of users that bet on unregulated sites exclusively drops from 59% to 24%; however, only 19% of unregulated site users know that the sites they are using are unregulated.

“This last point represents an incredible opportunity for increased consumer education and ensuring equitable state licensing structures that allow for open, competitive markets” noted Stern.

Data from the FSGA-Leger study also took a deep dive into the key market demographics and behavior of a sports bettor and a fantasy sports player. NFL remains the most popular game to bet on, followed by NBA, MLB and college sports. For fantasy sports, it’s NFL, MLB and NBA with eSports making a huge jump among DFS players.


This research was a web survey with a representative sample of 2000 U.S. Adults, over the age of 18, selected from LEO’s (Leger Opinion) representative panel, with a boost of past year sports bettors and fantasy sports players up to 1507. Data collection took place from May 10-25, 2022, via Computer-Assisted Web Interviewing technology (CAWI). Using 2010 U.S. Census reference variables, the American data was then analyzed and weighted by our statisticians according to gender, age, region, race/ethnicity, household size and education level in order to render a representative sample of the general population. A margin of error cannot be associated with a non-probability sample in a panel survey. For comparison purposes, a probability
sample of this size among the general population would have a margin of ±2.19%, 19 times out of 20. The results presented in this study comply with the public opinion research standards and disclosure requirements of CRIC (the Canadian Research and Insights Council) and the global ESOMAR network.

About FSGA
The Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association is the only national organization representing the interests of fantasy sports and gaming companies. We are the voice for more than nearly 60 million fantasy sports players in the United States and Canada, and for the companies that provide services, news, information and competition to support these growing industries. Our members are sports and gaming enthusiasts, with companies that range from small startups to large media corporations. Our mission is to provide our members with essential research and data, networking opportunities and collective action to help them reach their potential. For more information, visit

About Leger
Leger is one of North America’s largest independent full-service research firms, with over 600 employees in Canada and the United States.. Leger is a founding member of CRIC and is actively involved in raising quality standards in the survey industry. President Jean-Marc Léger is a member of the CRIC’s Board of Directors and the Canadian representative of ESOMAR. Poll aggregator gave Leger the highest rating among all polling firms in Canada for the accuracy of its studies. See To learn more, visit: