Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Support Sports Betting, According To New Poll

Posted on October 29, 2019

Sports betting is growing in popularity. At least that’s what industry experts and educated scholars have determined from researching the subject.

It’s no secret that the number of states looking to pass sports betting bills has steadily increased. States have been attempting to capitalize on the US Supreme Court ruling that freed sports wagering from the clutches of Nevada. 

Breaking down sports betting research by Seton Hall University

A recent research study conducted by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University found Americans have begun to embrace sports betting.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll surveyed 714 adult Americans and found, 55% of the public support the state-by-state process to legalize sports betting. An additional 25% said it should be legal in all states.

Other key findings:

  • 44% say wagering should cover both college and professional sports.
  • 35% say sports betting should only cover professional sports.
  • 58% oppose a loophole to exclude betting on in-state teams.

States like New Jersey and New York prohibit wagering on in-state schools. Others, such as Mississippi and Indiana permit wagering on in-state colleges.

Americans and the casino industry

It appears, not only are Americans finding sports betting more attractive but according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), they also view the casino industry more favorably as well.

Research conducted by the AGA found the American perspective of the casino industry was up 4% from 2018.

The research, revealed at October’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E), showed a record 49% of American adults have a favorable view of the casino gaming industry.

The AGA said the surge in favorability could be attributed to an industry that provides innovation, high-quality entertainment, all while supporting economic growth.

Other key findings:

  • 44% of Americans visited a casino in 2019, up 9 percent from 2018.
  • 49% of Americans say they will visit a casino over the next 12 months, up from 41 percent in 2018.
  • 67% of Americans think the gaming industry provides high-quality entertainment.
  • 49% say casinos help the communities where they are located.

Here is what Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, had to say:

“The favorability of our industry has never been higher. As gaming expands across the US and more Americans engage with our industry’s offering, they see firsthand gaming’s positive impact on local economics and its value as a community partner. I’m committed to continuing the association’s work to translate gaming’s vast popularity into political capital, one of my top priorities for AGA.”

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Final takeaways from the sports betting survey

The interesting takeaway from Miller’s statement is in his final line.

“continuing the association’s work to translate gaming’s vast popularity into political capital…”

It’s essential to look at the gaming industry holistically and not as individual parts. Louisiana looked at gaming piece by piece last year and was not able to get a gambling bill (that included sports betting) across the finish line.

But states like Pennsylvania and Illinois viewed the industry as a whole and added every single gambling vice imaginable in their respective bills. So, proceed with caution.

When it comes to sports betting, most, not all, gaming bills have been viewed as a way to fund some economic crisis going on in a state.

  • Education
  • Pensions
  • Budget gaps

However, most industry analysts do not view sports betting as a silver bullet but rather an extension of the gaming industry. Sports betting can bring customers to a casino property, which in turn fuels ancillary income. So it will be interesting to see how the AGA moves forward with helping states turn the industry into political capital. Will they do so piece by piece or in one lump sum? Only time will tell.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

View all posts by Nicholaus Garcia
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