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New AP Poll Shows Wide Betting Support; NY Wagering Soon

As games tip off today in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a new poll from The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about one-third of American occasionally bet on sports with friends or through an office pool.

The same poll showed there is less support for betting on college sports. Six out of 10 respondents want legal betting on the pros in their states whereas only 42 percent feel that way regarding wagering on college sports.

This year’s March Madness is the first since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal law giving individual states the choice to implement sports betting. Since the ruling seven states have joined Nevada in allowing sports wagering: Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Other findings from the AP-NORC poll:

  • Of those with a keen interest in sports, 69 percent think betting should be legal; 52 percent say the same about college sports
  • 65 percent of men and 56 percent of women are more likely to support betting on professional sports; 45 percent of men and 40 percent of women believe betting on college sports should be legal
  • 65 percent Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans want legal betting on pro leagues, 47 percent Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans think it should be legal to wager on college sports
  • 36 percent of American say they bet occasionally (such as in March Madness brackets) while 20 percent say they’ve occasionally placed bets at casinos with 10 percent betting through fantasy sports apps and websites
  • Most people, however, say they never gamble on sports; 89 percent don’t place bets online, 70 percent at casinos, 63 percent among friends. About 5 percent say the frequently participate and gambling in any of those forms.

According to the AP-NORC poll, most Americans found gambling to be a problem – but not a major one. 2 in 10 think gambling is a major problem whereas 6 in 10 believe it’s a minor problem and 2 in 10 think it isn’t an issue. The poll surveyed 1063 adults drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, designed to representative of the United State population.

Clock Ticking On Public Comment in New York
The New York Gaming Commission on Wednesday posted rules for sports betting in the state, starting the clock on the 60-day period for public comment.

After the 60 days, sports betting would be allowed at the four privately owned non-Indian-owned casinos – possibly as soon as Memorial Day. The commission is charged to set a firm date when betting can begin.

Gaming officials OK’d rules for sports betting at private casinos in the Finger Lakes section of the state, Schenectady, the Catskills and the Southern tier.

The casinos must have a sports wagering lounge to accept wagers with an automated ticket system allowed, but only in the lounges.