US Legal Sportsbetting Gaining More Support, University Survey Research Shows

Posted on: October 18, 2018, 05:25h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2018, 05:30h.

A recent study from East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research shows that legalized sports betting has plenty of fans among the American populace.

gaming survey
A new survey shows growing support for legalized sports betting among US citizens. (Image Source: The Philadelphia Enquirer)

The poll — which was part of the university’s recent “Life, Liberty, and Happiness” survey — reveals that 47 percent of the 1,152 US residents surveyed believe in legal sports betting, while just 26 percent are firmly opposed.

The remaining 27 percent had no opinion on the issue.

Current levels of public support, particularly among both self-identified Democrats and Republicans, suggest that the prospects are clearly more favorable than unfavorable for additional states, and even the federal government, to pass laws that further legalize sports gambling,” the report read.

ESPN state tracker sports betting
The race is on: more and more US states are getting regulated sports betting up and running. (Image:

Dividing Lines

It turns out that support is largely bipartisan.

Among the GOP, 50 percent voiced support for sports betting, compared to 48 percent of Dems. Those who consider themselves politically independent gave the lowest levels of support at 41 percent.

“Republicans are both the most likely to support and the most likely to oppose the legalization of professional sports gambling because they are the least likely to express neither agreement nor disagreement on the issue,” the report’s authors wrote.

Other demographics saw more pronounced polarization.

Men, for example, supported it by 57 percent, while just 38 percent of women surveyed gave their endorsement. Pollsters say that’s likely due to the fact that “men already tend to gamble more frequently than women.”

Age proved to be even more divisive, with only 28 percent of those older than 75 giving approbation of legalization versus 57 percent among those between the ages of 18 and 24.

Income was also a factor: US households with incomes of at least $120,000 gave 57 percent approval, while the next-highest income bracket saw levels of support dip to 47 percent, and it went down from there.

Attitude Adjustments

Those opinions have come a long way from a few decades ago.

The report points out that a Sharkey Institute poll from 1975 found that just 27 percent of Americans supported legalization. That number grew to 41 percent by 1993, and the same survey found 46 percent support by the time 2017 rolled around.

And a Washington Post survey conducted in September 2017 — just under six months from the US Supreme Court’s overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, aka PASPA —  found that 55 percent of US residents supported ending the federal ban on sports betting.