The 2021 National Football League (NFL) championship kicked off on Sep 9, making sports betting hot and attractive. This is especially true as the annual event will lead to crazy legal sports betting, pushing up the stocks in this sector higher. The NFL will be played over an 18-week schedule and will conclude on Jan 9, 2022. Each of the league's 32 teams will play 17 games, with one bye week for each team.
With increased legalization of online sports betting and increased enthusiasm for the NFL season, this year’s tournament will be the most wagered-on sporting event in history. The legalization of sports betting across the United States has increased significantly from 2019 with online gambling now legal in 26 states and Washington, D.C. Several states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana and New York, have also approved legislation in some form but have yet to allow betting platforms to launch. By population, 45% of American adults now live in a state with legalized sports betting. According to the American Gaming Association, a record 45.2 million Americans plan to wager on the NFL season in some form. This is up 36% from last year. While NFL betting is projected to be up across all wagering methods, online sportsbooks betting is expected to see the largest increase from last year while illegal bookies are expected to see the slowest growth (read: 5 Sector ETFs That Beat the Market in August). About 21.7 million American adults will bet on the 2021 NFL season casually with friends, up 31% from 2020. Another 19.5 million plan to place bets online (legal and illegal), up 73%, while 14.6 million will participate in a paid fantasy contest or other type of pool competition, up 69% year over year. As many as 10.5 million people will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58%, and 6.7 million will place a bet with a bookie, up 13% from 2020. The tournament is expected to generate roughly $270 million in revenues from sports betting and gambling deals, according to The Washington Post. It is projecting the category to be worth more than $1 billion within a decade. PlayUSA, which tracks the regulated U.S. sports betting market, projects that players could legally wager over $20 billion on NFL and college football-related bets this season, nearly tripling the $7.5 billion wagered in 2020. Investors should tap the sports-betting extravaganza with the following ETFs: Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF ( BETZ Quick Quote BETZ - Free Report) This ETF is designed to offer retail and institutional investors global exposure to sports betting and iGaming industries by tracking the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming Index. iGaming comprises 32.8% share while sportsbook and technology round off the next two spots with a double-digit exposure each. The fund holds 42 stocks in its basket and has attracted $414.9 million in AUM. It charges 75 bps in annual fees and trades in an average daily volume of 179,000 shares. Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports & Digital Entertainment ETF ( NERD Quick Quote NERD - Free Report) This fund offers retail and institutional investors exposure to 34 esports & digital entertainment stocks. It follows the Roundhill BITKRAFT Esports Index, charging investors 34 bps in annual fees. From a country exposure, the United States and China take the largest share at 28.2% and 22.1%, respectively, while Japan and South Korea round off the next two spots. NERD has accumulated $83.4 million in its asset base while trading in an average daily volume of 23,000 shares (read: Soaring Video Games Sales to Keep Boosting Gaming ETFs). VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and eSports ETF ( ESPO Quick Quote ESPO - Free Report) This fund offers exposure to the global companies involved in video game development, esports, and related hardware and software by tracking the MVIS Global Video Gaming and eSports Index. It holds 26 stocks in its basket with American firms accounting for 47% of the portfolio, while Japan, China and Taiwan round off the next spots with a double-digit allocation each. The fund has gathered $740 million in its asset base while trading in an average daily volume of 73,000 shares. It charges 55 bps in annual fees from investors. Global X Video Games & Esports ETF ( HERO Quick Quote HERO - Free Report) This ETF offers exposure to companies that develop or publish video games, facilitate streaming and distribution of video gaming or esports content, own and operate within competitive esports leagues, or produce hardware used in video games and esports, including augmented and virtual reality. This can be easily done by the Solactive Video Games & Esports Index. Holding 40 securities in its basket, the fund has AUM of $577 million and charges 50 bps in annual fees. It trades in an average daily volume of 110,000 shares (read: Thematic ETF Investing: What You Should Know). VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF ( BJK Quick Quote BJK - Free Report) This ETF provides investors with exposure to companies involved in casinos and casino hotels, sports betting, lottery services, gaming services, gaming technology and gaming equipment. It follows the MVIS Global Gaming Index, holding 40 securities in its basket. The product has AUM of $134.5 million and an average daily volume of roughly 28,000 shares. It charges 65 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a High risk outlook.