A new survey has revealed that 55 percent of Americans support a legalised sports betting industry, while 33 percent oppose it.
As the sports betting case heats up in the US, a Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell survey has revealed that the majority of American respondents are supportive of sports betting in the country.
The survey reportedly marks the first time the majority of respondents have supported the idea of wagering on professional sporting events.
“A majority of Americans now favour sports betting, but this is especially true among respondents younger than 50,” co-director of the UMass Lowell Centre for Public Opinion, Professor Joshua Dyck, said.
“This suggests that support may actually continue to increase in years to come.
“I would not be surprised if we see a push to legalise sports betting in more states, especially in states with the ballot initiative.”
A similar poll conducted by American-research company, Gallup, in 1993 revealed that 56 percent of respondents were against sports betting, while 41 percent were for it following the inception of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
The survey also revealed that sports betting continues irrespective of the legislation, with 26 percent of men and 15 percent of women recording that they have bet on a sports betting event, such as a basketball game or a football match, in the last five years.
Director of Media Relations at the American Gaming Association (AGA), Steve Doty, said that the survey “confirms what we’ve already known and that is the fact that a majority of Americans want to be able to legally wager on sports.”
“We’ve seen this with recent polling from GQR [Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research] and we’re seeing overall a growing demand for sports betting,” he added.
He urged the federal government to reconsider the “25-year old failing ban on sports betting” and give sports fans what they want, which according to Doty is a “legal, regulated environment to bet on sports.”
While the AGA estimates the illegal wagering industry to be worth $150 billion, another report estimates it to be worth about a third of that.
The new report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that more than 30 states will legalise sports betting in some way by 2023 if PASPA is repealed.
The Eilers & Krejcik Gaming report also points out the benefits of regulating sports betting, including the ability to eliminate the current black market just by legalising land-based betting only.
The country has been debating the federal ban for years, but the US could finally see a change for sports gambling by 2018.
The New Jersey case has opened the floodgates for the industry, with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments for and against the PASPA repeal in the coming months.
The shift hasn’t only occurred among the general public but in professional leagues, such as the National Football League and the National Basketball League, which have both been against gambling since the introduction of PASPA.
“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,” Major League Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, said a few months ago.
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