More Americans Support Sports Betting, Post-UMD Poll Shows

More Americans Support Sports Betting, Post-UMD Poll Shows


As states across the country legalize sports betting and online sports betting floods sports television with celebrity-backed ads, Americans are increasingly accepting the practice, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Four years after the Supreme Court struck down a law that limited sports betting primarily in Nevada, 66% now approve of legalizing betting on professional sports events. That’s up from 55% who said the same in 2017, before the Supreme Court ruling, and 41% in 1993. Support for legalizing college sports betting is weaker: 49% approve and 50% disapprove.

Betting has been legalized and made available in 30 states and DC In five other states, sports betting has been legalized but is not yet operational. A 54% majority of Americans say the growing share of states allowing people to bet on sporting events is “neither good nor bad.” The others are divided according to whether it is good or bad, 23% each.

Despite growing approval, 71% of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried that the growing availability of sports betting will lead more people to become addicted to gambling. Most Americans (64%) do not know anyone who has had gambling too much or too often, but 21% say they have a family member with a gambling problem, 14% say they have a close friend with a gambling problem, and 4% say they have had a gambling problem themselves. Game.

About a quarter, 24%, of Americans say professional athletes should be allowed to bet on their league’s games if their team is not competing. A majority of 76% say it should not be allowed. The NFL has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least a year after betting on NFL games.

Gambling advertising has become ubiquitous in sports broadcasts. Thirty-seven percent of Americans say they are bothered by these ads, compared to 54% for prescription drug ads and 25% for beer ads.

The most common way people bet on sports is with friends or through a desktop pool, 67% of sports bettors have done so in the last five years. About half of bettors say they gamble online using betting or fantasy sports websites and apps (49%), while 40% wager in person at a casino. A much smaller 12% made bets in stadiums or arenas.

Only 8% of American adults say they place sports bets monthly or more often, and less than 2 in 10 Americans, 17%, say they have bet on a professional sporting event in the past five years. Among sports fans, 20% say they have made a bet. This number is basically unchanged from the 21% who said the same in 2017.

The stability in the share of Americans betting on sports since 2017 is consistent with other polls. An SSRS / Luker on Trends survey found that 16% of adults aged 21 and over said they had “ever bet on sports” in data from January to April 2022, barely changed between 15 and 16% in the results from 2018 to 2021. In February, Marist College found that 36% of adults had ever bet on a professional or college sports game or played pool, up from 40% in 2017.

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Sports betting is common among sports enthusiasts: 48% have placed a bet in the past five years and 32% say they bet once a month or more often, according to the Post-UMD survey.

The survey reveals that 62% of sports bettors under the age of 50 have bet online, compared to 26% of those aged 50 and over. Bettors under 50 are also much more likely to have bet in a stadium or arena (17%) than those over 50 (3%).

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According to the Post-UMD survey, 7% of adults aged 21-25 say they placed a bet before they turned 21, which is similar to 11% of all adults who said they bet on sports before they turned 21. to be 21 years old. betting did not lead to an inordinate percentage of young adults betting before they were 21.

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said internal data from his group showed a slight increase in player numbers since 2018 – but not significantly. “It means a lot of people are moving from illegal gambling to legal gambling,” he said. “Within the betting community, you look at frequency and spend. We suspect it’s going up.

Some of the most populous states in the country, including California and Florida, have yet to introduce the game. New York went live this year. Several industry analysts noted that gambling operators and states were reporting strong revenues that were in line with projections.

Chris Grove, a co-founding partner at Acies Investments, which focuses on gaming, sports and technology, said legalizing gambling was never going to transform non-sports fans or people who had no interest in playing sports betting.

“The number of people who enter an office pool or bet $5 on a game with a friend will not budge,” he said. “But the United States is clearly poised to match or exceed the performance of more mature gambling markets on a GDP per capita adjusted basis.”

The poll was conducted online May 4-17, 2022 among a random national sample of 1,503 adults by The Washington Post and the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement at the University of Maryland. The sample was drawn through the SSRS Opinion Panel, an ongoing survey panel recruited by random sampling of US households. The overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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