Washington, DC – Just days before Super Bowl 50, new research released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA) finds that 80 percent of Super Bowl viewers want to change current sports betting law, and two-thirds (66%) believe states should decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.
Further, 41 percent of Super Bowl viewers – 47 million people – have bet on the Big Game at some point. An equal number say they have placed some type of sports bet in the past year. That’s nearly three times the number of people who attended every NFL game this season (17.3 million).
The research, conducted by The Mellman Group, also found that Super Bowl viewers believe that regulated sports betting would:
- Protect the Integrity of Games: 65 percent of Super Bowl viewers believe transparent, regulated wagering will either strengthen the integrity of games or have no impact on game outcomes.
- Benefit Communities, Enhance Consumer Safety: 72 percent of Super Bowl viewers believe allowing states to regulate sports betting will make it safer for consumers; 68 percent believe legal, regulated sports betting will generate tax funds for much needed local programs like education and public safety.
- Increase Fun and Engagement Among Fans: 67 percent of Super Bowl viewers say they’re more likely to watch a game if they bet on it. Most fans agree betting makes the game more enjoyable (53%) and makes them follow teams and players more closely (55%).
“America’s passion for football is rivaled only by its enthusiasm for sports betting,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “Fans believe regulated sports betting enhances the game experience, deepens their engagement with their favorite athletes and teams and protects the integrity of games.”
“This first-of-its-kind poll shows clear support among Super Bowl viewers for a state-by-state regulatory approach to sports betting,” said pollster Mark Mellman. “If the public had its way, public policy would change.”
The research sample consists of 800 completed interviews between January 25 and 28 and is made up of male and female adults (in approximate equal number), all 18 years of age and over.
The sentiment among fans in support of sports betting comes as they are expected to wager $4.2 billion on the Super Bowl this year. The vast majority of these bets will be placed illegally, as federal law currently bans traditional, full-fledged sports betting outside of Nevada.
In a major shift last November following months of study and deliberation by AGA and its members, the casino gaming industry announced its intent to study the implications of current law and build a coalition to determine if rational, legal alternatives exist. AGA has launched a new website dedicated to this effort which will serve as the hub of its campaign to educate and inform stakeholders and allies. The site will include up-to-date news, research and information on this dynamic issue.
Last year, AGA released its first-ever estimate of illegal Super Bowl wagers, which totaled $3.8 billion and was, at that time, 38 times greater than the legal, regulated market. The new estimates reflect continued growth and consumer support of the activity. During the 2015-16 seasons alone, estimates show that sports fans wagered a total of $95 billion on NFL and college football games this season, with the vast majority – $93 billion – of wagers being placed illegally.
Looking at other sports, previous research estimated that Americans bet more than $2 billion on March Madness games last year. Notably, the total number of brackets filled out was greater than the number of ballots cast for either President Obama (66 million) or Mitt Romney (61 million) in the 2012 election.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.