Poll: 70 Percent More Likely to Watch Game If They Wager on It

As leagues move towards embrace of gambling, 70% say they’re more likely to watch a game if they wager, but 61% say it will lead to cheating or fixed games.

South Orange, NJ, November 30, 2018 — If you bet that wagering on a game leads to greater viewership – you’d be right. A survey by the Seton Hall Sports Poll has found that 70% of Americans say they would be more likely to watch a game they bet on.

In a week in which Major League Baseball announced a marketing partnership with MGM Resorts, the era of “No Betting Permitted” signs at ballparks is over, and the fans seem to love it.

But it is a double edge sword – 61% say they believe that legal betting on sports events leads to cheating or the fixing of games.

But oh that 70% of heightened interested in watching games is music to a sports league’s ears. Within that, the poll found that 88% of those age 18-29, the coveted demographic loved by sponsors and hardest to reach – would be more likely to watch if they placed a bet.

“Watching is the first step towards creating a paying fan,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute of the Stillman School of Business. “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 this week across to country to 741 adults on landlines and cellphones, and has a +/- 3.7% margin of error.

Asked if they were more likely to bet on a game if they could do it with their cellphones, 64% of those 18-29 said they would do it. 40% of the overall sample said they would be more likely.

Younger people, in fact, have less resistance to gambling. On the question of whether legalized sports gambling is creating a compulsive gambling problem, only 5% of those 18-29 strongly agreed, while the number grew to some five times that among older respondents. (21% of those 30-44, 28% 45-59 and 30% over 60).

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% disapproving. The gender breakdown was dramatic here, 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 pro sports or extended to college sports. 42% said pro and college, 35% said just pro – but 51% of men said pro and college, with only 33% of women agreeing.

Of the 33% who say they have bet sports, 51% believe gambling leads to cheating or fixing of games vs. 61% of the overall public.

Of the 33% who say they have bet on sports, 31% agree that legalized sports gambling is creating a compulsive gambling problem in this country (43% overall agreed); 49% said they would be more likely to wager if it was legal in their state (vs. 31% overall), 77% said they would be more likely to watch games they bet on (vs. 70% overall), and 56% said they would be more likely to gamble on sports if they could bet using a cellphone (vs. 40% overall).

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at https://itunes.apple.com/mt/podcast/seton-hall-sports-poll/id1053266467.

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone November 26-28 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute at the University’s Stillman School of Business. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.  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, AppelPR@gmail.com;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall
michael.ricciardelli@shu.edu, 908-447-3034

The results:

  1. The Supreme Court recently ruled that betting on sporting events could be declared legal by individual states. Do you approve of this ruling, disapprove or do you have no opinion?

1 – Approve                                         40%

            2 – Disapprove                                    16

            3 – Don’t know/No opinion                44

  1. Do you think legal sports betting should be limited to professional sports or should betting on college sports be legal as well?

1 – Just Pro sports                               35
2 – Professional and college                42
3 – Neither (don’t give as an option) 12
4 – Don’t know/No opinion                12

  1. What comes closer to your view of betting on sports events:

1) It should be allowed and taxed since a lot of people do it anyway.
2) It shouldn’t be allowed since it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports.

1 – Should be allowed                         54
2 – Shouldn’t be allowed                     36
3 – Neither (don’t give as an option)   3
4 – Don’t know/No opinion                7

  1. Should gambling on sports be regulated on a state-to-state basis or by the federal government?

1 – States                                             65
2 – Federal government                       26
3 – Neither (don’t give as an option) 5
4 – Don’t know/No opinion                4

  1. Tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: Legalized sports gambling is creating a compulsive gambling problem in this country.

1 – Strongly agree                               22
2 – Somewhat agree                           21
3 – Somewhat disagree                      29
4 – Strongly disagree                           24
5 – Don’t know/No opinion                5

  1. Do you believe legal betting on sports events leads to cheating or fixing games?

1 – Yes                                                 61
2 – No                                                  33
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               6

  1. Is betting on sporting events legal in the state in which you reside?

1 – Yes                                                 15
2 – No                                                  33
3 – Don’t know                                    52


  1. Would you be more likely to bet on a sporting event if it was legal in your state?

1 – Yes                                                 32
2 – No                                                  66
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               3

  1. Have you ever placed a bet on a sporting event?

1 – Yes                                                 33
2 – No                                                  67
3 – Don’t know                                    0

  1. Have you ever participated in a Super Bowl pool involving money?

1 – Yes                                                 39
2 – No                                                  61
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               1

  1. Have you ever filled out brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament for cash prizes?

1 – Yes                                                 17
2 – No                                                  83
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               0

  1. Have you ever wagered money on a daily fantasy website like DraftKings or FanDuel?

1 – Yes                                                   3
2 – No                                                  97
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               0

  1. If you placed a bet on a sporting event would it make you more likely to watch the broadcast of that event?

1 – Yes                                                 70
2 – No                                                  27
3 – Don’t know/No opinion                3

  1. Do you think you would be more likely to gamble on sports if your were able to place a bet using your cell phone as opposed to going to a casino or gambling parlor?

1 – Yes                                                 40
2 – No                                                  57
3 – Don’t know/No opinion               3

  1. How closely do you follow sports, very closely, somewhat closely, not closely or not at all?

1 – Very closely                                  20
2 – Somewhat closely                       39
3 – Not closely                                    16
4 – Not at all                                        26


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous 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 embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

During the past five years, the University has invested more than $165 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. The University’s beautiful main campus in suburban South Orange, N.J. is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is located prominently in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

For more information, visit www.shu.edu.

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