Majority in U.S. Support Expanded Sports Betting


Sports betting should be legalized in all states, according to a recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. 51% of registered voters support legalized sports betting in states where it is not currently legal, up 12% from a March 2010 poll asking the same question.

60% of men (compared to 43% women) are in favor of leglized sports betting, now offered only in Nevada and Delaware. 20% of men admit to wagering on a sports event in the past year, with most of those in favor of expanded gambling.

“These national figures are similar to what we’ve seen in our recent polls of New Jersey voters,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “New Jersey is moving forward with its plans for sports betting in early 2013, despite federal lawsuits by the NBA, MLB and others to block it,” she added.

The issue over sports betting erupted after New Jersey passed laws allowing sports betting in the state, in defiance of federal laws. New Jersey is sueing the federal government to have this federal law limiting sports betting overturned.

Online gambling doesn’t garner the same support nationwide, however. Only 27% of those polled supported states offering gambling online. But even this number is up from the 2010 poll, when only 21 percent favored such a measure. Once again, support from men (36%) is almost double that of women (19%). The two older age categories, 45-59 (24%) and 60+ (14%) are among the least likely to show support for online gaming.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 814 registered voters was conducted nationally by telephone with both landline and cell phones from December 10 through December 16, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.