Washington Post Poll Shows Most U.S. Adults Support Legalizing Sports Betting
The debate of legalizing sports betting in the US has taken a lot of dramatic turns in the last few years. Most prominent is the state of New Jersey who have been wagering a legal to and fro battle to get sports betting legalized in the Garden State. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on the case soon and many are looking to this as the test case which could finally lead the way for a federal legalization of sports betting throughout the US.
In the past we have reported on various polls that indicate growing support for legalization of sports betting. A recent poll conducted by The Washington Post and University of Massachusetts Lowell indicated that 55 percent of US adults support the legalization of sports betting on a pro event. This is a huge shift in attitude from 25 years ago when the federal law came into practice to effectively ban sports betting in most of the county. At that time around 56 percent of American disapproved the ideal of legalization.
With the New Jersey case many believe that the tide has long since turned towards a pragmatic approach and the question is not if it will be legalized but rather when. Added to that is the turnaround the major sporting bodies have done in the last few years which have added a sense of inevitability surrounding the legalization.
According to the latest poll 21 percent of sports fans have bet on professional sporting events in the past five years. These fans are most likely to be avid sports fans, male under the age of 40, pro football fans and nonwhites.
The largest support for legalization comes from the group who have placed bets in the last five years (84 percent). The level of support for legalization is 79 percent among those who played fantasy sports leagues, 70 percent for avid sports fans, 63 percent for men, 61 percent of people with household income of $100k or more and 60 percent among pro football fans. Among political lines the partisan difference is minimal with 57 percent of Democrats supporting the legalization and 52 percent of Republicans doing so.
In terms of opposition to legalization the tide had definitely turned. Back in 1993, 29 percent of Americans aged 50 and older supported legalized sports betting. As of today 46 percent of those aged 50 support legalization.
This poll definitely strengthens the pro legalization lobby which as gained the tacit and even public support of major sporting bodies like the NBA whose Commissioner Adam Silver has openly discussed legalizing gambling along with the Major League Baseball.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was quoted in July as saying,” We’re in the process of talking to our owners and figuring out where we want to be in the event that there is in fact a significant change coming.”