Legalized sports betting in some form is now available in 30 states to 196 million Americans, but a recent study showed mixed feelings about the industry. Arizona State University’s Global Sports Institute (GSI), partnered with OH Predictive Insights of Phoenix, conducted the study.
Scott Brooks is the director of research at GSI. Brooks expressed surprise at the amount of ambivalence and unchanged opinions when it comes to sports betting.
The Arizona State University survey by the numbers
The survey revealed that 16% of Americans strongly oppose sports betting. Only 9% have changed their minds since more states legalized online gambling. The poll found that 44% approve of legalized betting.
An overwhelming number, 52% of respondents, favored states having autonomy over sports betting. The results showed that 11% felt states should not allow legalized gambling.
21% wanted legalized betting in all states. Of those in favor of sports betting, 19% strongly favor, 25% somewhat favor, and 37% neither favor nor oppose.
One of the most revealing statistics was that 62% of those asked don’t bet on sports despite more options like online gambling.
The Arizona State University poll showed 80% of respondents bet once a year or less.
The survey numbers by demographic
54% of men surveyed were between 35 and 54. In that group, 49% who were Hispanic/Latino or from the Atlantic region favored sports betting. In all, 54% percent of men asked favored legalized betting.
The breakdown of males who opposed sports betting showed that 31% are aged 65 or older. Of postgraduates and conservatives, 21% of each group opposed betting on sports.
Figures for advertising and sports betting frequency
Arizona State University’s GSI also factored in opinions and beliefs. The study questioned the impact of legalized betting on people who play.
When asked if they had seen advertisements about betting platforms, 43% said no, and 13% were unsure. 44% of respondents confirmed they had seen online gambling or other advertisements.
The study also looked at the patterns of the “frequent bettor.” They looked at monthly bettors and those who bet more frequently.
70% of frequent bettors were between 18-44 years old. Of those, 15% bet on sports monthly, and 23% engaged in sports betting less than once per month.
The study then went deeper into demographics for sports betting advertisements since 2018. The group that had seen the most advertisements were males between 35 and 44 in the western region (51%).
The age and income demographic
The survey determined that 70% of the most frequent bettors were between 18 and 44, and 68% were male. In that demographic, 35% earned over $100,000 annually.
Females made up the largest group of people who opposed betting altogether at 58%. Females over 65 years old were the most opposed at 28%.
The social issues of legalized gambling
45% of participants in the study didn’t recall seeing advertisements about problem gambling. The study also found that 85% felt there should be measures for prevention and treatment.
Scott Brooks feels there’s room for growth in the general acceptance of legalized betting and for education about the potential harms of sports betting.
“I think what we would like for them to take away from our survey is, one, that Americans still don’t have all the information.” He added that Americans need to pay more attention to the subject of sports betting in general.