The American Gaming Association (AGA) released a series of reports on the legal and illegal betting surrounding the Super Bowl as part of its ongoing campaign to legalize and regulate sports wagering.
New research from the AGA found that 80 percent of Super Bowl viewers want to change current sports betting law, and two-thirds (66 percent) believe states should decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.
Further, 41 percent of Super Bowl viewers—47 million people—have bet on the Big Game at some point. An equal number say they have placed some type of sports bet in the past year. That’s nearly three times the number of people who attended every NFL game this season (17.3 million).
The research, conducted by The Mellman Group, also found that Super Bowl viewers believe that regulated sports betting would:
Protect the integrity of games:65 percent of Super Bowl viewers believe transparent, regulated wagering will either strengthen the integrity of games or have no impact on game outcomes.
Benefit communities, enhance consumer safety: 72 percent of Super Bowl viewers believe allowing states to regulate sports betting will make it safer for consumers; 68 percent believe legal, regulated sports betting will generate tax funds for much needed local programs like education and public safety.
Increase fun and engagement among fans: 67 percent of Super Bowl viewers say they’re more likely to watch a game if they bet on it.
The research sample consists of 800 completed interviews between January 25 and 28 and is made up of male and female adults (in approximate equal number), all 18 years of age and over.
“America’s passion for football is rivaled only by its enthusiasm for sports betting,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA in a prepared statement. “Fans believe regulated sports betting enhances the game experience, deepens their engagement with their favorite athletes and teams and protects the integrity of games.”
The sentiment among fans in support of sports betting comes as they are expected to wager $4.2 billion on the Super Bowl this year, according to an AGA press release. The vast majority of these bets will be placed illegally, as federal law currently bans traditional, full-fledged sports betting outside of Nevada.
In a major shift last November following months of study and deliberation by AGA and its members, the casino gaming industry announced its intent to study the implications of current sports wagering law to determine if rational, legal alternatives exist.