Poll Shows Americans Split on Sports Betting

A new poll from Seton Hall University shows that Americans are split over the legalization of sports betting, but that legalization is supported by a majority of those under age 30.

A new poll conducted by Seton Hall University shows that Americans are divided on whether or not to legalize sports betting. The annual Seton Hall Sports Poll shows that 46 percent of Americans support legalization of full-scale sports wagering but 42 percent remain opposed.

Sports-betting advocates can glean some good news from the poll, however, as 67 percent of respondents under age 30 were in support of legal sports betting. Additionally, the poll shows support for legal sports betting has increased greatly this decade. A national poll conducted by Farleigh Dickinson in 2010 showed only 39 percent of Americans in support of legalizing betting on sports events with 54 percent opposed.

The Seton Hall poll asked the question, “It’s been said a lot of people bet on sporting events anyway, so government should allow it and tax it. It’s also been said legal betting on sporting events is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports. Which comes closer to your view?”

The poll showed support for legal sports betting went down as the age of the respondents increased. For ages 30-44, support dipped to 48 percent; for ages 45-59, 42 percent; for age 60 and older, only 30 percent.

The poll was conducted February 20-22 among 626 adults across the country on both landlines and cellphones, with a margin of error of 4%.

“If younger people carry those beliefs forward, and as they become lawmakers themselves, we could see a major shift in the legality of sports gambling,” said Rick Gentile, director of the poll, in an article on the Seton Hall website.

The greater support among the young and opposition among older groups also applied to specific questions on recent sports-betting news. The poll asked whether it was appropriate for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to call for legalized and regulated sport betting, and whether respondents support New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City casinos. The poll numbers for these questions largely mirrored the primary question.