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A sportsbook is a place where a gambler can wager on various sports competitions, including golf, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, horse racing, greyhound racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts.
Winning bets are paid when the event finishes, or if not finished, when played long enough to become official; otherwise all bets are returned. This policy can cause some confusion since there can be a difference between what the sportsbook considers official and what the sports league consider official.
The betting volume at sportsbooks varies throughout the year. Bettors have more interest in certain types of sports and increase the money wagered when those sports are in season.
Major sporting events that don’t follow a specific schedule, like boxing, can create peaks of activity for the sportsbooks.
Results from a 2018 National Research Group poll illustrate the legal market’s potential: Forty-six percent of people who already wager on sports would likely wager more if gambling was legalized.
Twenty-seven percent of people who watch sports would like to wager on sports if it were to be legalized.
Thus, if the 46 percent of consumers who already wagered on sports increased the amount they wagered by even 25 percent—assuming those 46 percent represent the “average” bettor—that would represent an estimated increase of between $5.75 billion (from the low estimate of $50 billion) to $23 billion (at the high end) over illegal market estimates.
Similarly, if the 27 percent of sports fans who currently do not wager but would do so if sports wagering became legal started wagering the “average” amount, that would represent an increase of between $7.8 billion (at the low end) and $31 billion (at the high end) over illegal market estimates.
Those potential increases, which account for potential gamblers who are currently “on the sidelines” and existing gamblers who would wager more if sports wagering was legalized, suggest the actual increase over illegal market estimates could be between $13.5 and $54 billion.