General Population Sides With US Sports Betting Legalization

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on March 6, 2023 - Last Updated on March 7, 2023
Poll Shows Legal US Sports Betting Favored

Without a doubt, the popularity of US sports betting has risen since the fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). 

Since then, 33 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legal, regulated sports betting. But the rise in legal gambling brings bigger questions, such as whether betting should even be legal at all.

But according to a new poll from Seton Hall, over half of the general population said sports gambling should, in fact, be legal. 

The general population favors legal US sports betting

The Seton Hall Sports Poll found 54% of the general population said sports betting should be legal, while 22% opposed it. In 2022, researchers found that 47% said sports betting should be legal versus 27% opposed. 

The study surveyed 1,534 adults nationwide with a +/- 2.5% margin of error.

Additional figures found 56% of self-described “casual fans” said sports betting should be legal, an increase of 3% from a year ago. 

Q: Should sports betting be legal (2023)

  • Casual fan – 56% Yes vs. 23% No
  • Sports fan – 62% Yes vs. 20% No

Q: Should sports betting be legal (2022)

  • Casual fan – 53% Yes vs. 28% No
  • Sports fan – 59% Yes vs. 25% No

Poll finds there’s an increase in first-time bettors

Following the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl 57 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, researchers also discovered an increase in first-time bettors. 

Asking — have you ever placed a bet on a sporting event? — the poll found that 34% of the general population said yes, while 61% said no. 

Results showed:

Q: Have you ever placed a bet on a sporting event? (2023)

  • Casual fan – 42% Yes vs. 54% No
  • Sports fan – 48% Yes vs. 48% No
  • General population – 34% Yes vs. 61% No

Q: Have you ever placed a bet on a sporting event (2022)

  • Casual fan – 34% Yes vs. 61% No
  • Sports fan – 41% Yes vs. 54% No
  • General population – 28% Yes vs. 65% No

Researchers also found that those placing bets on sporting events like the Super Bowl are 77% more likely to keep watching. 

“The leagues and networks have an obvious interest in sports gambling which is further verified by these numbers,” said Professor Charles Grantham, Director of the Center for Sport Management within Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business.

“But this interest doesn’t come without caveats and costs. As the audience and revenue continue to expand and the stakes get higher, scrutiny must also increase – and that comes with a cost. The integrity of the games is paramount and must be protected at all times.”

As the popularity of sports gambling increases, so will the debates surrounding legalization. Currently, major states like Texas, Florida and California are trying to pass bills to legalize sports betting. 

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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