Wagering on a sports game leads to greater viewership according to a new poll commissioned by Seton Hall University in New Jersey. It found that 70% of Americans say they would be more likely to watch a game they bet on. While that might be hailed as positive news by the leagues, teams and sports betting operators, 61% of those polled said they believe that legal betting on sports events leads to cheating or the fixing of games.

Breaking down that 70 per cent of the ‘more likely’, the survey found that 88% of those age 18-29, would be more interested in watching if they placed a bet.

Rick Gentile, director of the poll, stated: “Watching is the first step towards creating a paying fan. In the 1980s, the leagues became aware that fantasy sports were heightening interest, and eventually, they embraced it. Now they appear to be ‘all in’ with something once impossible to imagine.”

The poll was conducted across the country and involved 741 adults. Asked if they were more likely to bet on a game if they could do it via their cellphones, 64% of those 18-29 said they would. Forty % of the overall sample said they would be more likely to do so.

Younger people, according to the poll, appear to have less resistance to gambling. On the question of whether legalized sports gambling is creating a compulsive gambling problem, only five % of those 18-29 strongly agreed, while the number grew to circa five times that among older respondents.

Out of those questioned, 40% said they approved of the Supreme Court’s ruling that betting on professional sports could be declared legal by individual states, with only 16% against. The gender breakdown was, said the University, dramatic, with 52% of men favoring the court’s decision, but only 28% of women.

The gender gap repeated in a question of whether betting should be limited to professional sports or extended to college sports. A total of 42% said professional and college, 35% said only professional – but 51% of men said professional and college, with only 33% of women agreeing.

The poll was conducted by telephone between November 26 and 28 among adults in the US by the Sharkey Institute at the University’s Stillman School of Business.