Nearly half in US sup­port le­gal­ized sports bet­ting

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS -

A new poll finds nearly half of Amer­i­cans ap­prove of le­gal­ized sports bet­ting, rea­son­ing that so many peo­ple are al­ready do­ing it.

The Fair­leigh Dickinson Univer­sity PublicMind poll re­leased Wed­nes­day finds 48 per­cent sup­port chang­ing fed­eral law to make sports bet­ting le­gal through­out the coun­try; 39 per­cent are op­posed.

"Bet­ting on sports does not have an ac­cess is­sue for any­one in the United States," said Don­ald Hoover, se­nior lec­turer at the univer­sity's In­ter­na­tional School of Hospi­tal­ity and Tourism Man­age­ment. "Most of the sports bet­ting in the U.S. is fairly easy to do, but hap­pens in the shad­ows and in vi­o­la­tion of fed­eral law."

The poll comes as New Jersey opens an­other front in its eightyear war on a fed­eral law re­strict­ing sports bet­ting to those states that met a 1991 dead­line to le­gal­ize it: Ne­vada, Ore­gon, Mon­tana and Delaware.

New Jersey law­mak­ers have come up with an­other po­ten­tial way around the ban in­volv­ing a com­plex re­peal of sports bet­ting reg­u­la­tions in the state, fol­lowed by a lim­ited re­in­sti­tu­tion of re­stric­tions. And the state's horse rac­ing in­dus­try is ask­ing the U.S. Supreme Court to de­cide the mat­ter once and for all.

The tele­phone poll using cell­phones and land­lines to reach 1,019 adults na­tion­wide has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3.8 per­cent­age points.

Among those in fa­vor, the two big­gest rea­sons given are that many peo­ple are al­ready do­ing it (45 per­cent) and that le­gal­ized sports bet­ting would re­sult in in­creased rev­enue for the state (39 per­cent).

Among op­po­nents, top con­cerns are fos­ter­ing gam­bling ad­dic­tion (55 per­cent); the po­ten­tial in­volve­ment of or­ga­nized crime (22 per­cent) and con­cerns about the per­ceived in­tegrity of the games (16 per­cent).

"The public is di­vided on this is­sue, and it looks like the rea­sons be­hind the divi­sion stem from the age-old dif­fi­culty of rec­on­cil­ing the com­pet­ing pulls of money and moral­ity," said Krista Jenkins, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and the poll's direc­tor. "Peo­ple are clearly wor­ried about the ef­fects of gam­bling on in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies, but also aware of the ben­e­fits that come from more money for the state from some­thing that peo­ple are al­ready do­ing."

The poll also found that al­though peo­ple are more sup­port­ive of le­gal­ized sports bet­ting, they don't nec­es­sar­ily want more casi­nos: 68 per­cent say the U.S. cur­rently has enough casi­nos, com­pared to 16 per­cent who want fewer casi­nos and 11 per­cent who want more.

Fol­low Wayne Parry at http://twit­ter.com/WaynePar­ryAC

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