The most recent Seton Hall Sports Poll gauged the pulse of the nation on a number of issues related to wagering on sporting events and was featured by ESPN's Darren Rovell, Yahoo Finance and a number of other media outlets. Yahoo placed versions of its article on the poll results on its websites in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia and India and across its Finance, Sports and Entertainment pages. In Forbes, the findings were published to the renowned finance magazine's "Sports Money" section, which covers the business of sports.
Among the findings of the Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute of the Stillman School of Business, is that those who placed bets on games were overwhelmingly more likely to watch those games— an important metric to the leagues and advertisers as a recent Supreme Court ruling has spawned legal sports gambling in a number of states, including New Jersey.
Initially opposed to legalized sports betting, a number of professional sports leagues and teams have recently forged commercial alliances with sports gambling entities.
The Yahoo article, "POLL: 70% of Americans say they are more likely to watch a sports event they bet on," notes that:
After the U.S. Supreme Court in May struck down PASPA, the federal statute that kept states from legalizing sports betting, the major U.S. sports leagues (particularly NBA and MLB) have reacted swiftly, on the thinking that if fans can now place legal bets in more states (seven now total), they will happily do so.
A new survey confirms the wisdom of that bet. The latest Seton Hall University Sports Poll, shared exclusively with Yahoo Finance, finds that 70% of Americans surveyed say they are more likely to watch a sports event if they have placed a bet on it.
On the other hand, 61% of Americans surveyed say that legal betting on sports events leads to cheating or fixing of games. In other words, fans think legalized betting creates a slippery slope ethically—but they still want to bet.
ESPN's Darren Rovell focused on a smaller but more striking subset of the poll's findings to his two million plus Twitter followers. Of the vaunted demographic for advertisers, Rovell writes:
Pulitzer Prize finalist John Brennan, a former long-time reporter for The Record and current writer at USBets.com, focused his story on different demographics. His article, "Women and Seniors Are Wary of This New U.S. Legal Sports Betting Landscape, Poll Finds," noted:
Wives of television sitcom characters who worry about their bumbling husbands blowing the rent money on gambling have been a classic stereotype for more than 60 years.
Times have changed, and now women are now much more likely to be sports fans themselves.
So does that translate into an equalizing of attitudes toward sports betting, now that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May paved the way for any state to offer it?
Not according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll of respondents across the U.S. that was released on Friday.
And there isn't just a gender gap when it comes to acceptance of sports betting — there is an age gap as well.
Men are from Mars …
First the gender gap: The poll of 741 adults (a sample size resulting in an estimated +/- 3.7% margin of error) asked men and women if they approved of the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down a 1992 federal law limiting sports betting, and while 52% of men approved of the ruling, only 28% of women did.
Brennan also noted, with the suggestion that policy makers take heed, the findings on the prospect of a rise in compulsive gambling problems in a climate of legalized sports betting. He writes:
Another question — one whose results lawmakers should digest — was on whether legalizing sports betting will create added compulsive gambling problems. Among those over age 60, 30% said it will. As respondents skewed younger and younger, the number diminished. In the 45-59 age group, 28% expressed that concern, and of those age 30-44, there was 21% agreement.
The drop-off got a lot less gradual with millennials aged 18-29, though; only 5% in that age group worried about problem gambling rising.
In Forbes, "Gambling Will Help Viewership but Fear Games Can Be Fixed, Says Poll," the article notes that although the advent of more widespread legal sports gambling may be good for the networks and the leagues, there is a belief that this might come at a price for the games. Remarking on the evolution in the perception of legalized sports gambling across wider swaths of the United States, the article quotes the Poll’s director, former Executive Producer and Senior Vice President of CBS Sports, Rick Gentile. Forbes notes:
In the months since the Supreme Court's ruling that banning sports gambling is unconstitutional, the sports landscape has begun to change. Gambling sites are advertising on television, radio, podcasts, and more. Leagues have struck deals with casinos. The hope that ratings will increase has come to pass, so far. There are still questions and some of those have been answered in a recent poll.
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. Within that, the poll found that 88% of those age 18-29, a coveted demographic loved by sponsors, 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. "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."
John Brennan, USBets.com, "Women and Seniors Are Wary Of This New U.S. Legal Sports Betting Landscape, Poll Finds"
Daniel Roberts, Yahoo, "POLL: 70% of Americans say they are more likely to watch a sports event they bet on."
Seth Everett, Forbes, "Gambling Will Help Viewership but Fear Games Can Be Fixed, Says Poll."
Here you can also read the full Seton Hall Sports Poll release and see the individualized data breakdown for the questions, "Poll: 70 Percent More Likely to Watch Game If They Wager on It."