With the start of the NFL season this week, I thought it was a good time to bring up the issue of sports gambling. There are various ways that people bet on sports nowadays. The most common are on individual games and fantasy sports. Not only is betting on sports illegal in the US, but it can also have a negative impact on your finances.
The NFL Super Bowl is the most popular game to bet on each year. Fox Business estimated in January that Super Bowl 51 drew $4.7 billion in total wagers. NBA March Madness is another popular event to gamble on every year. Last year there was a total of $10.4 billion wagered through March Madness brackets. Finally, the International Business Times estimated in 2015 that $95 billion was gambled on NFL and college football games throughout the season.
These are just some examples of sports betting and the numbers are staggering. They show that a lot of people are spending big money on individual games. There are also some states like Nevada that have legal sports gambling. No wonder that so many people don’t even have $1,000 in a savings account!
Fantasy Sports is one of the biggest forms of gambling in the USA and Canada. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) regularly publishes data and demographics about fantasy sports.
Here are their numbers at a glance:
- 66% Male // 34% Female
- Average Age: 38.6
- College Degree or More: 66%
- Have a household income of $75k+: 51%
- Have full-time employment: 67%
- Average Annual Spending Per Fantasy Player (age 18+): $556
- Favorite Fantasy Sport: Football
- Fantasy Sports Players that Pay League Fee: 70%
The FSTA also finds that the percentage of the population playing fantasy sports is 21% in the USA and 19% in Canada.
In 2017 there are projected to be 59.3 million players in the USA and Canada.
On average, fantasy sports players (age 18+) spend $556 on league-related costs, single-player challenge games, and league-related materials over a 12-month period.
The $556 annually consists of $318 from Daily Fantasy Sports, $184 from Traditional Fantasy Sports, and $54 from materials. While this doesn’t sound like much money, if you were to invest $556 each year in an S&P 500 Index Fund at a 7% annual rate of return, you would have over $516,000 after 60 years.
There are a large number of people spending thousands of dollars on sports gambling every year. This is another habit that will negatively impact your net worth. Despite what you might think and no matter how passionate you are about sports, the odds of winning are not in your favor. Consider using this money to invest or to pay down debt including student loans, credit cards, and mortgages. This is extra money that you will have available to spend on actually going to a game. Don’t gamble away your Sundays when you could be enjoying the game-day experience instead.
Readers, do you gamble on sports? How much do you spend annually?