Majority favors professional sports betting

Dec 30, 2012 12:40 PM

Despite the legal battle being waged in New Jersey over sports betting, there is serious doubt professional sports could survive with the countless billions of dollars wagered legally and illegally throughout the country.

Yet, in a recent survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind, according to a report by the Associated Press’ Wayne Parry, only 51 percent of those surveyed favored sports betting.

Oddly, that was substantially better than the public’s opinion of Internet gambling. Only 27 percent said they were in favor of that activity.

Both of those subjects are in the forefront of legal battles in New Jersey. And that may soon spread to other states.

New Jersey lawmakers, with the strong support of Gov. Chris Christie, passed legislation permitting the state to enter the field of sports wagering, despite a federal law that prohibits it. A plan to go forward with sports betting is being contested in the courts at the instigation of the NFL, NHL, NCAA and MLB.

As for Internet gambling, the lawmakers passed a bill permitting it within the state and sent the legislation to Gov. Christie for his signature.

In discussing the poll, Krista Jenkins, a political science university professor, said, “These national figures are similar to what we’ve seen in our recent polls of New Jersey voters.”

The overall result, she noted, was up significantly from a March 2010 national poll that found only 39 percent supported the expansion of sports betting. As for Internet gambling, the current poll fared better than a previous one also conducted in 2010. At that time, only 21 percent were in favor.

The poll also found that one in five American men admitted betting on sports.

Under the new Internet gambling bill favored by New Jersey lawmakers, a person making such bets would be required to be physically in New Jersey. However, there are loopholes that would allow gamblers in other states to make and cash in bets under certain circumstances.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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