More Americans support sports betting, the post-UMD survey finds

More Americans support sports betting, the post-UMD survey finds


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

Four years after the Supreme Court overturned a law restricting sports gambling primarily to Nevada, 66% now approve of making wagering on professional sporting events legal. This is up from 55% who said the same in 2017, before the Supreme Court decision, and 41% in 1993. Support for legalization of college sports betting is lower: 49% approve and 50 % disapproves.

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 that allow people to bet on sporting events “is neither good nor bad.” The rest is divided as to whether it is good or bad, 23 percent each.

Despite growing approval, 71% of Americans say they are “very” or “quite” concerned that the increasing availability of sports betting will lead to more people becoming addicted to gambling. Most Americans (64%) don’t know anyone who has had a gambling problem too much or too often, but 21% say they have a family member with a gambling problem, 14% say they have a gambling problem. close friend with a gambling problem and 4% say they have had a gambling problem.

About a quarter, 24%, of Americans say professional athletes should be allowed to bet on their league games if their team is not competing. A majority of 76% say this shouldn’t 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 on sports broadcasts. 37% of Americans say they are annoyed by such ads compared to 54% for prescription drug ads and 25% for beer ads.

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

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

The stability of 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 “never bet on sports” in data from January to April 2022, just jumped from 15 to 16% in results. from 2018 to 2021. This February, Marist College found that 36% of adults had never bet on a professional or college sports match or participated in a swimming pool, down from 40% in 2017.

Like a “Woj bomb” he blew up the NBA draft lines and paid bettors

Sports betting is common among sports enthusiasts – 48% have 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 finds that 62% of sports bettors under 50 have gambled online compared to 26% of those over 50. Bettors under the age of 50 are also much more likely to bet in a stadium or arena (17%) than those over 50 (3%).

Post-UMD survey progress document with detailed methods

According to the Post-UMD survey, 7% of adults between the ages of 21 and 25 say they gambled before age 21, similar to 11% of all adults who said they gamble on sports before turning 21. . This suggests the growing availability of the internet has not led to a disproportionate percentage of young adults betting before the age of 21.

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said his group’s internal data showed an increase in the number of gamblers since 2018, but not by a large margin. “It means a lot of people are switching from illegal to legal gambling,” he said. “Within the betting community, you are looking at frequency and spending. We suspect it is going up. “

Some of the country’s most populous states, including California and Florida, have yet to introduce gambling. New York went live this year. Several industry analysts noted that gambling operators and states were getting a good amount of revenue in line with projections.

Chris Grove, a co-founding partner of Acies Investments, which focuses on gambling, sports and technology, said legalizing gambling would never transform non-sports fans or people who had no interest. in gambling in sports bettors.

“The number of people who walk into an office pool or put $ 5 into a game with a friend won’t budge,” he said. “But the US is clearly on track to meet or exceed the performance of more mature gambling markets on an adjusted basis of GDP per capita.”

The survey was conducted online May 4-17, 2022 on a random national sample of 1,503 adults by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland’s Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement. The sample was drawn through the SSRS Opinion Panel, an ongoing survey panel recruited through a 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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