Poll: Americans support legalized betting on pro sports

The majority of Americans support legalizing betting on professional sports, according to poll results released Tuesday.

The poll, conducted in August by the Washington Post and University of Massachusetts Lowell, revealed a significant shift in public sentiment on sports betting in the United States:

• 55 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed approve of legalizing betting on professional sports. In 1993, the first year the federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting was put in place, 56 percent of American disapproved of sports betting legalization, the Washington Post reported, citing results from a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll.

• Sports betting legalization has bipartisan support, with 57 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans in favor, according to the Post-UMass Lowell poll.

• 21 percent of sports fans have placed a bet on a professional sporting event in the past five years, while 16 percent have participated in a fantasy sports contest over that time period, the poll found.

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case that will examine the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the federal ban on sports betting. The NCAA and major professional sports leagues have sued New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to prevent the state from permitting its casinos and racetracks from offering sports betting.

The Supreme Court is expected to be hear the case as early as the end of November.

Members of Congress, in the meantime, are trying to get in front of the issue. Two Republican congressmen, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia and Rep. Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey, are calling for a hearing on sports betting in the House Judiciary Committee. And Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, is circulating draft legislation of a bill that aims to repeal PASPA.

A report released this week by consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming predicted that 32 states would offer regulated sports betting by 2023, should PAPSA be repealed.