The Majority of Americans are Supportive of a New Way to Enjoy Sports
Even though gambling has always been somewhat glorified by Hollywood and the American media, rules and regulations have always curtailed how Americans can bet. But sports betting took this to a different level and was banned federally from 1992-2018 under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Of course there were numerous reasons why this bill was passed including negative economic impacts, and the sanctity of sports, but the pushback from states who relied on gambling tax revenue was immediate and consistent for the 26 year long ban.
But now that online betting has been legalized and this act was overturned, what do Americans think about this relatively new way to enjoy sports?
Legal and Loved Across the US
There is no doubt that America loves sports, and with all the advancements in technology over the years, there’s no reason to limit this enjoyment to being physically present at a game anymore. Smartphones are powerful enough to stream high quality matches, and millions of people tune in to watch events like the Super Bowl every year. And it seems like people really want to have a little skin in the game during their favorite sporting seasons, but don’t want to be stuck in a casino or at the race track to do so.
In a survey conducted by Bookies Bonuses US earlier this year, over 57% said they were in favor of legalizing online betting, and only 18% were against it. When you think about how many new betting sites are opening up their proverbial doors, it makes sense that there would be considerable support for the industry. But this positive reception of online betting is backed up even more when looking at tax revenue in New York, where Governor Kathy Hochul announced that NY has pulled in $263 million from mobile gambling since January 2022 when it became legal in the Empire State. To bring in this kind of money, it takes an army to bet, or at least a solid percentage of New York residents.
Public Service Funding Pulls in Even More Support for Sports Betting
Already tipping well over into the majority, the number of American who are OK with online betting in the States might actually be higher than the numbers show.
In the same survey this data has been collected from, a question was posed that brought up the fact Colorado uses a portion of their online betting tax to fund public services. When respondents who initially opposed or were on the fence about legalizing online betting were asked if their stance would change if public service could be funded with the tax revenue from sports betting, the overall number jumped up to 70%!
This actually makes a lot of sense when looking at the ‘morality’ of gambling, and even though only about 48% of Americans say that gambling is morally acceptable, a much higher percentage is in favor of legalizing the industry. This just goes to show that the potential positive impacts of a legal online betting industry have a serious influence on public perception, and clearly impacts why there is a majority supporting online sports betting.
This idea of using tax revenue from a totally new source is something that numerous elected officials have bandied about when looking at ways to mitigate the economic consequences of Covid-19, with the Penn National Gaming CEO saying to CNBC ‘that this legalization process that is happening at the state level stands to accelerate’ as a direct result.
Going back to New York for a moment, there has been a clear effort by the government to focus on responsible online gambling, and the governor is adamant in using the industry to ‘drive [the] state’s economic growth.’ What this means for revenue being used to bolster public services that skeptical Americans are asking for is still up in the air, but if the states still rejecting legal online betting are looking for a new revenue source that citizens are in favor of, legalization with a few contingencies seems like a logical step.
Seeing the sharp increase in positive public opinion of online betting in the past decade is evidence that sports betting has become part of daily American life. Ads are plastered over billboards and TV screens, and teams are sponsored by the sportsbooks that write the odds. There is no telling what the ceiling for this industry is, but with growing public support, sports betting is almost certainly here to stay.
To learn more about the public perception of sports betting, the introduction to the mainstream, and how it has become ingrained in our daily lives, read about the shift in public perception since 2010 that led to sports betting becoming a regular hobby.