Legal sports betting survey finds increased support

A growing number of Americans support legalizing professional sports betting, according to a new poll.

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 66% of Americans support betting on professional sports. That number is up 11 percentage points from 2017, a year before the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for betting to expand to states beyond Nevada.

In 1993, support was only 41%, according to the newspaper.

Support for college sports betting is mixed, with just 49% approval in the new poll.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, sports betting has expanded to more than 30 states and Washington D.C. A majority of respondents (54%) said the expansion is ‘neither good nor bad’, with a equal split of 23% each calling it either “a good thing” or “a bad thing”.

Despite the general approval of sports betting, 71% are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the growing availability of betting, leading more people to become addicted to gambling.

A majority (64%) said they had never had a close friend or family member who gambled too much or too often, while 21% said they knew a family member, 14% knew a close friend and 4 % said they personally had a problem at some point.

Other survey results included:

— 37% are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the volume of online and TV ads for sports betting, which is more than those who are concerned about beer ads (25%) but less than those who are bothered by advertisements for prescription drugs (54%).

– 73% fear that the increase in betting will lead to more rigged or rigged games.

— Only 17% have placed a bet on a professional sporting event in the past five years. Only 9% bet on a college event.

— Unsurprisingly, 85% of those who placed a bet in the past five years said it made the game more interesting to watch.

— Of those who approve of sports betting, 68% support keeping the legal age at 21 instead of lowering it to 18.

The poll was conducted online May 4-17 among a random national sample of 1,503 adults, the Post said. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Contact Jim Barnes at Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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