Majority of Americans in favour of legalised sports betting

News on 27 Apr 2018

With the decision of the US Supreme Court in the New Jersey sports betting case (hopefully) imminent, the industry considered the results of a new Seton Hall poll this week.

The poll showed that by a margin of 55 percent vs. 35 percent, Americans favour legalised betting on sports events…and by a margin of 48 percent to 42 percent respondents feel that legalised betting could negatively impact the integrity of sporting events.

Even among those favouring legalised gambling, one out of three believes that it would have a negative impact.

“It’s outrageous when you think about it,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute. “It comes close to saying ‘We don’t care about the legitimacy of the games, what matters is being able to bet on them. A majority favors gambling, and by a slimmer margin think the games might be fixed as a result.”

The poll was conducted over landlines and cellphones to 736 randomly selected people across the country, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.

The poll also asked whether people feel that sports betting should be controlled by individual states, or by the federal government; 62 percent said sports gambling should be under state control, with 27 percent saying the federal government should control it.

Broken down by gender, men are much more inclined to support legalised betting, with 63 percent saying yes. Only 47 percent of women favoured legalised betting.

Approval fell significantly by age, with 68 percent support from ages 18-29, down to 37 percent at age 60 and over. Similarly, the support number fell based on level of education, with 71 percent supporting legalised gambling among those who did not finish high school, to 39 percent for those with post-graduate degrees.

Those who favour legalised betting think it should cover both professional and college sports by a margin of 49 percent vs. 36 percent.

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