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Yield Sec projections: Illegal market still has strong hold on US gamblers

| By Jill R. Dorson
Using predictive analytics, Yield Sec earlier this month released a special report projecting that, even as legal sports betting proliferates across the US, the black market still dominates. According to the report, the black market made up 65% of all wagering GGR in the US.
yield sec 2023 ggr

In 2023, according to the report, of the predicted total $29.5bn GGR in the US, $10.4bn was from legal operators.

Yield Sec further broke down the numbers and determined that 15% of all legal US GGR came from basketball, 10% from football and 6% from baseball.

Parlays ruled US betting in 2023, making up 54% ($15.9bn) of GGR. A company spokesperson said that while operator data may show that football is the most-bet sport in the US, many of those bets are parlays, which show up as “parlays” rather than “football” in Yield Sec data.

The report is titled “How America Bets Online” and only includes data related to online or digital gambling.

Yield Sec, a market intelligence platform, uses AI to trawl the web for gambling-related keywords, and then refines the gathered information. Using legal-market figures as a benchmark, the company applies machine learning to make an illegal-market prediction.

The company did not predict, or include in the report, a breakdown of bets by sport on the black market.

“Across 2023, Yield Sec monitoring witnessed the dominant control of American audiences by illegal betting and gaming operators across social media, search and the ‘online conversation’,” Yield Sec researchers wrote. “During certain sporting events as much as 80% of social posts linking to betting content were in favour of illegal operators.

“This was even more noticeable across social video content that linked to betting, with up to 85% of all video content linking to illegal operators, often featuring overt branding for them throughout such posts.”

Yield Sec indicated that its black market numbers are predictions, but pointed to its ability to predict legal-market scenarios with accuracy as proof its system is valid. According to a spokesperson, Yield Sec predicted GGR for the 2024 Super Bowl within about 3% accuracy.

Yield Sec: Black-market GGR declined YoY

The report does show a decline in black market activity year over year. According to the data, the total US sports betting market grew from $54.3bn GGR in 2022 to $57.8bn in 2023.

In that year, legal-operator handle grew while Yield Sec predicted that the black market shrank. In 2022, legal operators had GGR of $12.27bn versus a predicted $42.03bn by illegal operators. In 2023, the legal-market share grew to $16.88bn while the predicted illegal market share dropped $1.1bn to $40.92bn.

The report also revealed:

  • 103 legal US sports betting and igaming operators vs 860 illegal operators
  • 199 legal US affiliates vs 638 illegal affiliates
  • $10 average minimum deposit on legal US platforms vs predicted $100 on black-market operators
  • $10 average cashout on legal US platforms vs predicted $130 on black-market platforms

  • Regions:
  • US

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