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Number of adults projected to place an NFL bet this season obliterates previous record

A gambler makes a sports bet at Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J., Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On the eve of the official start of the 2023 NFL season, the American Gaming Association says more adults than ever before will place a sports bet this season.

The most recent AGA survey found that 73.5 million American adults will place some sort of wager in the upcoming season, with 49.7 million wagers being traditional bets online, at a casino, or with a bookie. If the projection holds, this means about 28% of the American adult population will place a bet — a 57.7% increase year over year.

The AGA survey found that 37% of NFL fans plan to place a bet. About 14% of people plan to place those bets online, while 5% plan to use a physical sportsbook.

Thirty-four states and Washington, D.C. have legal, live sports betting. Indiana legalized sports betting in 2019, and as of 2022, was in the top 10 states for the most money bet on sports.

Jason Hammer, host of WISH-TV’s “All Indiana Bets” and a WIBC radio talk show host, told News 8 last year: “It’s a sports town. It’s who we are. It’s kind of in our blood and now that we’ve got the chance to legally and — that’s the key word, ‘legally’ — bet on this kind of stuff, I think people are really excited.”

According to the Indiana Gaming Commission, the Indiana sports betting handle in 2022 was more than $4 billion online. Retail was over $380 million.

The increase in online access to betting and the diversity of types of bets has also sparked confusion over players gambling. It’s led to several recent suspensions. In June, Colts General Manager Chris Ballard announced the indefinite suspension of kick returner Isaiah Rodgers and outside linebacker Rashod Berry for gambling violations.

The 2023 NFL season officially kicks off Thursday night between the Detroit Lions and reigning Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.

The Colts begin regular season play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Game time is 1 p.m.

There are several events planned leading up to Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium, including the sold-out Colts Kickoff Concert on Friday and the Shining a Light display on Monument Circle celebrating the Colts’ 40th season in Indianapolis.

The Indiana Gaming Commission offers a voluntary exclusion program and an internet self-restriction program for people struggling with problem gambling.

Anyone struggling with gambling can also call the Indiana Gambling Problem Referral line at 800-994-8448.

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