With legal sports betting widely available for the first time, the upcoming World Cup is set to be a landmark soccer event for the American gaming industry.
20.5 million American adults — or 8% of the population — plan to place at least one wager on the World Cup for a cumulative total of $1.8 billion, per a new report from the American Gaming Association.
“As the first World Cup with widespread availability of legal sports betting, this will certainly be the most bet-upon soccer event ever in the U.S.,” said AGA Senior Vice President Casey Clark.
Betting could be seen as an activity to enhance the viewing experience, as 29% of American adults who plan to watch the World Cup intend to bet on it.
A majority (78%) of likely bettors say it is important to place wagers legally. That shows up in the data, as 9.8 million (48%) plan to place a bet online, while 4.7 million (23%) plan to do so at a physical casino sportsbook.
However, not all bettors will take the strictly legal route — 4.1 million (20%) plan to wager with a bookie.
The data also skews young: Gen Z (11%) and Millenial (14%) plan to bet on the tournament at higher rates than their Gen X (8%) and Baby Boomer (2%) counterparts.
And, of course, everyone is rooting for the home team.
If given $50, 24% of Americans would bet on the United States to win it all — higher than the 19% garnered by current betting favorite Brazil (+400).