May 9, 2017
By Dustin Gouker
A majority of Americans are in favor of allowing states to decide whether to legalize sports betting, with avid sports fans even more likely to support such a move.
That’s according to a survey commissioned by the American Gaming Association, the casino group pushing for regulation of sports wagering around the US.
Perhaps the most shocking data: A minority of people are unaware of the current legality of sports betting in the US.
Attitudes toward legal sports betting in the US
The firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted the national survey for the AGA. The questions revolved around people’s attitudes toward sports betting.
The most interesting insight from the data might be the fact that only 38 percent recognize that it is not legal in most of the nation.
Here are the top-level takeaways from the poll:
- Nearly six in ten Americans are in favor of ending the federal sports betting ban to allow states to decide whether to offer sports betting.
- 72 percent of avid sports fans are in favor of ending the federal ban.
- More than six in ten 18 to 36 year olds are in favor of legal sports betting.
- Nearly two in three Americans believe legalized sports betting would allow local communities to benefit from additional tax revenues and job creation.
- If sports betting was legal, roughly 28 million Americans would be more likely to wager on sports.
You can see all the survey results here.
The survey comes as the AGA makes a more focused push to legalize sports betting.
Other data from the sports betting survey
The poll went beyond just attitudes on the federal sports betting prohibition.
How many people bet on sports?
The survey also polled people’s current behaviors on sports betting.
Nearly one in five Americans (19 percent) say they have bet on sports in the past year. GQR says this figure is likely underreported.
The number rises to 45 percent for people classifying themselves as avid sports fans.
More engagement from sports betting
While we know sports betting increases fan engagement, the data here solidifies that idea.
Nearly all sports bettors report that when they bet on sports, they are more likely to:
- Watch a game (92 percent)
- Talk with people about a game (82 percent)
- Follow teams and players more closely (80 percent)
- Find a game more fun and enjoyable (79 percent)
Data falls in line with other polls
Any poll conducted by an interest group should be looked at with a bit of skepticism. But the data, while more positive, is not too far removed from other surveys:
- Two-thirds of Americans said sports betting should be legal in a poll from last spring.
- A plurality in a Seton Hall poll supported legal sports betting.
- Half of Americans supported ending the ban in a poll from November.
- A majority of NFL fans agreed that sports betting should be left to the states.