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Poll: Americans favor legalized sports betting

26 Apr 2018

(PRESS RELEASE) -- By a margin of 55% – 35%, the American public favors legalized betting on sports events, according to a poll conducted this week by the Seton Hall Sports Poll.

And by a margin of 48% – 42%, those same respondents feel that legalized betting would negatively impact the integrity of sporting events. Even among those favoring legalized gambling, one of three believes that it would have a negative impact.

“It’s outrageous when you think about it,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute. “It comes close to saying ‘We don’t care about the legitimacy of the games, what matters is being able to bet on them. A majority favors gambling, and by a slimmer margin think the games might be fixed as a result.”

The poll was conducted over landlines and cellphones to 736 randomly selected people across the country, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

The poll also asked whether people feel that sports betting should be controlled by individual states, or by the federal government. (The U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on that issue).

62% said sports gambling should be under state control, with 27% saying the federal government should control it.

Broken down by gender, men are much more inclined to support legalized betting, with 63% saying yes.

Only 47% of women favored legalized betting.

Approval fell significantly by age, with 68% support from ages 18-29, down to 37% at age 60 and over. Similarly, the support number fell based on level of education, with 71% supporting legalized gambling among those who did not finish high school, to 39% for those with post-graduate degrees.

Those who favor legalized betting think it should cover both professional and college sports by a margin of 49% – 36%.
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