While the newly legalized sports betting sector is finding overwhelming favor with Americans, the number who would happily wager on college sports is in the minority according to a new report conducted by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The study has found that 60 per cent of Americans endorse legalized gambling on professional sports in their state, but only 42 per cent approve of betting legally on college sports. Said the report: “Self-described sports fans are especially supportive of legalizing both professional and college sports gambling in their state. However, those who consider gambling a major problem in the United States are generally opposed to legalization.”

Across all states where sports betting is already legal, 71 per cent of residents backed legal gambling on professional sports, but only 47 per cent said they support the legalization of college sports wagering. “Where sports betting is not yet legal, 59 per cent want to see gambling on professional sports legalized, but only 42 per cent think betting on college sports should be legal,” the study noted.

Asked about their current sports betting behavior, eight per cent of Americans revealed that they gamble at least occasionally at stadiums or arenas, while 10 per cent said they bet on sports via online websites or apps, and 20 per cent have gambled on sports at casinos. Most popular, however, is casual gambling, for example among friends or through an office pool. Thirty-two per cent confirmed that they participate at least occasionally in office pools or friendly wagers.  

The nationwide poll was conducted from March 14-18, 2019, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,063 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.