Young People Show Greater Support for Legalized Sports Gambling, but Overall Nation Divided

Strong support for sports gambling being regulated on a State-by-State basis

South Orange, NJ, February 23, 2017 – If younger people are to set the trend for the future of legalized gambling in America, they are certainly showing support for the concept today.

Asked by the Seton Hall Sports Poll this week, “It’s been said a lot of people bet on sporting events anyway, so government should allow it and tax it. It’s also been said legal betting on sporting events is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports. Which comes closer to your view?”…….

…….46% of Americans stated support for allowing betting on sporting events, while 42% said it was bad idea. This is a substantial increase from 2010 when a Fairleigh Dickinson poll showed 39% of Americans supported it, with 54% saying it was a bad idea.

Younger people are twice as likely to say “allow it” than those over 60. There is a clear age trend in support by age group: 67% of 18-29, 48% of 30-44, 42% of 45-59 and 30% of 60+.

The poll was conducted February 20-22 among 626 adults across the country on both landlines and cellphones, with a margin of error of 4.0 %.

“If younger people carry those beliefs forward, and as they become lawmakers themselves, we could see a major shift in the legality of sports gambling,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.

But where will the shift occur? A growing number of people, representative of general trends in the US, believe it should be on a state-by-state basis. 70% of all respondents support regulation on a state-by-state basis, with only 21% saying gambling should be regulated by the federal government. When asked this question in November 2014, 61% said state-by-state, and 29% said federal government.

The age trend also was also demonstrable on a question of whether it was appropriate for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s to call for legalized betting on a strictly regulated basis: 56% of those 18-29 supported his stance as appropriate, 34% of those 30-44, 28% of those 45-59 and 21% of those 60+ supported the stance.

Similarly, addressing New Jersey’s attempt of recent years to allow for sports gambling, 61% of those 18-29 said they should have passed the law, while 50% of those 30-44, 47% of those 45-59 and 33% of those 60+ supported it.

Daily fantasy games, a recent entry into the sports gambling discussion, attracts young people far more than older ones. While nationwide, only 15% say that have participated, the number is 24% for those 18-29, 11% for those 45-59, and only 6% for those 60+. 61% of all respondents believe those daily fantasy games are a form of gambling, with 23% calling them a game of skill.

Asked “have you ever gambled on a sporting event?” 31% of all respondents said yes, 66% said no. This is in line with the same question, asked in November 2014, at which time 33% said yes, 67% no.

A podcast in which Seth Everett interviews Rick Gentile will be available shortly.



One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

For more information, visit

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone February 20-22 among 626 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations ,;
Seton Hall Associate Director of Media Relations, Michael Ricciardelli,

The results:

  1. It’s been said a lot of people bet on sporting events anyway, so government should allow it and tax it. It’s also been said legal betting on sporting events is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports. Which comes closer to your view?

Allow it 46%

Bad idea 42

Don’t know 12


  1. A while ago NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reversed the league’s historical stance and advocated legalized betting on sporting events on a strictly regulated basis. Do you think it’s appropriate for the leader of a major professional sports league to take such a stance?

Yes 34

No 51

Don’t know 15

  1. A few years ago, New Jersey passed a law allowing for sports gambling in the state. The major sports leagues and the NCAA successfully lobbied for an injunction to block the law because they said gambling on sporting events damaged the integrity of the game. Do you think New Jersey should have been able to pass a law allowing sports betting in the state?

Yes 47

No 39

Don’t know 13

  1. Four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon) are exempt from a federal law passed in 1992 that banned betting on sporting events. With which of the following statements do you agree?

The law should be left as it is 18

The law should be changed to allow all states to legalize sports betting if   they choose to do so. 45

Legalized sports betting should be outlawed in the four states in which it’s now legal 23

Don’t know 15



  1. Do you think publishing point spreads in newspapers and on line encourages betting on sporting events?

Yes 53

No 36

Don’t know 11

  1. If gambling on sporting events was legalized do you think it should be regulated on a state-by-state basis or by the federal government?

State-by-state 70

Federal government 21

Don’t know 10

  1. Have you ever gambled on a sporting event?
  2. Yes 31
  3. No 66
  4. Refuse to answer 3




  1. If gambling on sporting events was legalized do you think you would place a bet?

Yes 13

No 80

Don’t know 8

  1. Commissioner Silver stated that gambling has become a popular form of entertainment in the United States. Do you agree or disagree?

Agree 69

Disagree 22

Don’t know 9


  1. Baseball spring training has just begun in Florida and Arizona. Do you plan on participating in a baseball fantasy league this season?

Yes 2

No 91

Don’t know 6

  1. Have you ever participated in any of the daily fantasy games for any sports?

Yes 15

No 81

Don’t know 4

  1. Do you think participating in fantasy activities is a game of skill and therefore should be exempt from gambling laws or is it just another form of gambling?

Game of skill 23

Gambling 61

Don’t know 17


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.