Nearly half of sports fans in the United States admit they will gamble more often now that states start to legalize sports betting. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to lift the federal ban on sports wagering last month, a new poll reveals the public attitudes in the country towards this type of gambling.
With Delaware and New Jersey launching full-scale sports betting operations, more and more people in the United States now can place legal bets on single sporting events. Several more states are expected to follow suit and take advantage of the May 14 ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), according to which the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. With it, the Supreme Court effectively removed the state-wide ban on sports betting and allowed states to make their own decisions on that matter.
Now a new poll, conducted by the National Research Group, reveals that 46 per cent of sports fans in the U.S. say they will bet more often if sports betting is legalized nationwide. According to the research, 42 per cent of the people who watch sports programs currently wager on them. Even more interestingly, over a quarter (27%) of those who watch sports but are not currently gamblers will start betting on their favourite sports and teams. In order to determine people’s attitudes towards gambling on sports, researchers independently polled 1,010 American adults. They also found out that nearly 6 in 10 sports viewers are current or potential gamblers.
The recently published paper puts a heavier focus on how gambling would affect the sports industry and the consumption of televised sports. If betting on sports was legalized nationwide, gamblers would watch more sports on TV – 79 per cent of the gamblers say they would prefer watching live sports, rather than delayed, and 78 per cent also say they would watch more highlights and recaps. The most appealing content for gamblers is apparently the Super Bowl as 76 per cent of current and potential bettors point out that this is the event they are more likely to wager. Also, 43 per cent of them say they would bet on the NBA Finals. And just as expected, almost all (9 in 10) current or potential bettors want to have access to legal websites where they wager safely online.
Americans Approve of Sports Betting, but Fear Rise in Problem Gambling
The poll also highlights the fact that the majority of people actually approve of betting, especially on professional sports. According to the results, 60 per cent of the people in the United States approve of nationwide sports wagering. This can be compared with the support for gay marriage (65%) and marijuana use (63%), researchers say. Men have a generally more positive attitude as 69 per cent of them approve of sports betting, compared to only 51 per cent of women.
The last part of the poll explores the downsides to this type of gambling. It turns out that more people support betting on professional sports (66%) than betting on amateur and collegiate athletics (50%). One of the main reasons behind this trend is that many Americans (41%) believe that gambling may hurt the fair play and the integrity of college sports, while only 27 per cent of them say that professional leagues are at risk of this.
Generally, sports viewers also believe college or amateur athletes are more susceptible to corruption. If sports betting was legalized nationwide, 60 per cent of sports viewers believe college athletes are more likely to be corrupt, while 45 per cent say it is referees in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) who are at risk. Overall, 7 in 10 people who watch sports on TV believe that athletes and referees would cheat if sports wagers become legal everywhere in the country.
Last, but not least, the majority of people fear that the availability of sports betting one day would increase the rates of problem gambling. Once betting on sports becomes legal nationwide, more people would become addicted to gambling, according to 73 per cent of all sports viewers.