NRG Conducts First Major Poll On Changing Attitudes Towards Legalized Sports Gambling In The U.S.

LOS ANGELES — National Research Group (NRG), a leading global entertainment strategy and polling firm providing data and insights to a wide range of FORTUNE 500 companies, conducted the first major poll on how attitudes are changing on the key issue of legalized gambling and how gambling could change the consumption of televised sports in the United States.

As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is poised to sign sports betting legislation in the coming days and in the wake of the Supreme Court’s May 14th ruling that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violated the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, NRG independently polled 1,010 Americans to determine their attitudes towards legalized sports wagering in America. The company was not commissioned by any third party to conduct the work and NRG created an in-depth infographic that represents their key findings. Portions or all of the infographic can be published by any media outlet or sports blog if NRG is properly credited as the source. Their key findings are summarized below.

“The legalization of sports betting moves it from the shadows to the mainstream of the American sports landscape. Our survey reveals that betting will spur more live viewing and consumption of all sports,” said Jon Penn, CEO of National Research Group. “Just as fantasy sports created a nationwide fascination around player statistics, we expect betting lines, futures, and odds to become a core fabric of sports coverage and the fan experience.”




The majority of Americans approve of nationwide sports gambling, particularly for professional sports.

Six in 10 Americans approve of sports gambling. In fact, approval of sports gambling is comparable to sentiment and enthusiasm for leading social issues such as Gay Marriage (65%) and Marijuana Use (63%) and is far more acceptable than other sports-related issues such as Paying College Athletes (49%). Men are far more likely to approve of sports gambling (69%) than women (51%).

More Americans find betting on professional sports more palatable (66% approve) than betting on collegiate and amateur athletics, where only 50% of respondents approve.

Many Sports Viewers are already wagering on sports and would bet more often if legalized nationwide.

In fact, 42% of those who watch sports programming currently wager on games, betting $82 per wager on average. Currently, they are least likely to use online wagering sites offshore. 1 in 5 are in favor of other options such as sportsbooks. Nearly half (46%) expect that they would likely bet more often if gambling were to be legalized nationwide.

For those not currently betting, the opportunity to get in on the action is appealing — 27% of those who watch sports, but don’t currently gamble on them, say they would like to bet on sports if it were to become legalized nationwide.


If sports gambling were legalized nationwide, most gamblers agree they would watch more sports 

Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of current and potential gamblers said they would watch more sports live. While they are most likely to watch their favorite sports, the majority said they would additionally watch a greater variety of sports (63%) or watch new sports they didn’t follow before (60%).

Both for those currently betting and those who plan to if legalized, NFL is the most appealing target

The NFL and the NBA are the leagues that current betters are most likely to have wagered on, and potential betters would like to bet on in the future. The Super Bowl is the sporting event that both audiences would most like to wager on (76%) followed by the NBA finals (43%). In fact, overall, nearly half (48%) of all gamblers prefer to wager on championship games over the regular season or playoff matchups.

When it comes to new content, legal websites/apps to gamble are most in demand

Nearly 9 in 10 current or potential gamblers are interested in legal websites or apps to place bets. Still, 7 in 10 are interested in seeing gambling odds on screen while games are in progress. They are less enthused by podcasts or radio shows that analyze sports betting or commentators discussing gambling during events.

Fox Sports and ESPN best fit with sports gambling related content and NFL is top sport to bet on

Among both current and potential gamblers, Fox Sports and ESPN are seen as the networks that best fit with sports gambling programming.

NFL is top sport to bet on

For those looking to place a wager on sports, the NFL is the most bet upon league and the sport that future gamblers most want to bet on and the Super Bowl is the #1 event to bet on, followed by the NBA Finals. 1 in 5 of those polled want to bet on Horseracing.

If legalized, which of the following sports would you like to bet on?

Respondents: Future Gamblers


NFL (National Football League)


NBA (National Basketball Association)




MLB (Major League Baseball)


College Football




NHL (National Hockey League)


Men’s College Basketball


MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)


NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing)


The Olympics


MLS (Major League Soccer)


WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association)


Women’s College Basketball


English Premier League


PGA (Professional Golf Association)


UEFA Champions League


ATP World Tour (Tennis)


Formula One



Enthusiasm for sports gambling isn’t without impact on the game

With nationwide legalized gambling making it easier to bet on sports, most agree that more people will become addicted to gambling (73%). Further, 7 in 10 say it will be more likely that players or referees will cheat.

Amateur athletics seem more at risk…

Only 3 in 10 say that it will not impact collegiate and amateur sports.

And it’s the players that seem most at risk for corruption

For collegiate and amateur sports, 60% of Sports Viewers say that the unpaid athletes would be susceptible to corruption, while a minority of Sports Viewers say that referees or coaches are at risk for cheating (18%).

*To qualify for the survey, participants must watch at least 1 hour of TV per week through cable/telco live or with DVR or through streaming services.



SOURCE National Research Group

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