April 6, 2017
By Dustin Gouker
A majority of fans of NFL teams said that they would favor a change to the federal sports betting prohibition that would allow states to decide whether to legalize wagering on games.
NFL fans on sports betting: Top-level takeaways
The poll — conducted by Morning Consult — gathered the opinions of more than 40,000 NFL fans over several weeks in December and January.
The main takeaways from the poll:
- A majority of fans of varying NFL teams support changing federal gaming laws to allow states to regulate legal sports betting.
- A large portion of NFL team fans are likely to bet on the NFL if sports betting were legal in their state.
- NFL team fans are more likely to watch, follow and enjoy the NFL when betting.
The data should make the NFL feel good moving forward on sports betting
The NFL is constantly worried about its image. That especially applies in respect to game integrity and betting.
The league has downplayed the presence of Nevada sports betting in the future home of the Raiders, Las Vegas. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is still opposed to legalized sports betting. However, he also noted that the regulated environment in Nevada “could be beneficial” to game integrity.
The fact that NFL fans are not saying that legal sports betting should stay off the table should help embolden pro sports leagues executives moving forward.
In fact, direct opposition to states handling sports betting was relatively low. Generally, less than one in five fans said they would not support legalizing sports betting; about one in three said they had don’t know or had no opinion.
All the leagues are moving forward on sports betting
In the past few weeks, we have seen positive signs from nearly every major pro sports league in the US.
- For the NFL, there was the aforementioned move to Vegas and Goodell’s first positive comments on regulated sports betting.
- An NBA executive said there was “forward motion” for sports betting in the US.
- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wants his owners to be ready for a dialogue on sports gambling in the future.
Of course, the NHL is also headed to Vegas, with a franchise launching next season.