New York-based National Research Group (NRG), one of the world’s most respected entertainment research and polling companies, providing data and insights to a wide range of FORTUNE 500 companies, has conducted a recent poll among 1,010 Americans to determine their attitudes towards sports gambling. The survey is particularly timely in the wake of the Supreme Court’s May 14th ruling that overturned PASPA.
“The legalisation of sports betting moves it from the shadows to the mainstream of the American sports landscape. Our survey reveals that betting will spur more live viewing and consumption of all sports,” said Jon Penn, CEO of National Research Group. “Just as fantasy sports created a nationwide fascination around player statistics, we expect betting lines, futures and odds to become a core fabric of sports coverage and the fan experience.”
The poll found that the majority of Americans approve of nationwide sports gambling, particularly for professional sports. Six in 10 Americans approve of sports gambling.In fact, approval of sports gambling is comparable to sentiment and enthusiasm for leading social issues such as gay marriage (65%) and marijuana use (63%) and is far more acceptable than other sports-related issues such as paying college athletes (49%). Men are far more likely to approve of sports gambling (69%) than women (51%).
More Americans find sports betting more palatable (66% approve) than betting on collegiate and amateur athletics, where only 50% of respondents approve. Many sports viewers are already wagering on sports and would bet more often if legalised nationwide.
Currently, 42% of those who watch sports programming currently wager on games, betting $82 per wager on average. They are least likely to use online wagering sites offshore. One in five are in favour of other options such as sports books. Nearly half (46%) expect that they would likely bet more often if gambling were to be legalised nationwide.
For those not currently betting, the opportunity to get in on the action is appealing — 27% of those who watch sports, but don’t currently gamble on them, say they would like to bet on sports if it were to become legalised nationwide.
If sports gambling were regulated across the country, most gamblers agreed they would watch more sports. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) of current and potential gamblers said they would watch more sports live. While they are most likely to watch their favorite sports, the majority said they would additionally watch a greater variety of sports (63%) or watch new sports they didn’t follow before (60%).
Both for those currently betting and those who plan to if legalised, NFL is the most appealing target. The NFL and the NBA are the leagues that current bettors are most likely to have wagered on, and potential bettors would like to bet on in the future. The Super Bowl is the sporting event that both audiences would most like to wager on (76%) followed by the NBA finals (43%). In fact, overall, nearly half (48%) of all gamblers prefer to wager on championship games over regular season or playoff matchups.
When it comes to new content, legal websites/apps to gamble are most in demand. Nearly nine in 10 current or potential gamblers are interested in legal websites or apps to place bets. Still, seven in 10 are interested in seeing gambling odds on screen while games are in progress. They are less enthused by podcasts or radio shows that analyse sports betting or commentators discussing gambling during events.
There are concerns, however, that enthusiasm for sports gambling isn’t without impact on the game. With nationwide legalised gambling making it easier to bet on sports, most agree that more people will become addicted to gambling (73%). Further, seven in 10 say it will be more likely that players or referees will cheat. Only three in 10 said that it will not impact collegiate and amateur sports.
And it’s the players that seem most at risk from corruption according to those polled. For collegiate and amateur sports, 60% of sports viewers believe that the unpaid athletes would be susceptible to corruption, while a minority thought that referees or coaches are at risk of cheating (18%).
How will bettors gamble in the legal sports betting landscape? Check out the table below.
|If legalised, which of the following sports would you like to bet on?|
|Respondents: Future Gamblers|
|NFL (National Football League)||77|
|NBA (National Basketball Association)||39|
|MLB (Major League Baseball)||29|
|NHL (National Hockey League)||18|
|Men’s College Basketball||15|
|MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)||14|
|NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing)||13|
|MLS (Major League Soccer)||8|
|WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association)||7|
|Women’s College Basketball||6|
|English Premier League||5|
|PGA (Professional Golf Association)||4|
|UEFA Champions League||2|
|ATP World Tour (Tennis)||2|