Sports Betting Shouldn’t Be Widely Promoted, US Poll Responders Say

Posted on: November 29, 2022, 12:10h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 12:24h.

US poll responders broadly support legalized sports betting, but they don’t necessarily want it shoved in their faces. That’s the takeaway from a new Harris Poll that found that 54% of American adults have a positive opinion of sports betting, and two thirds (63%) believe it should be legal everywhere in the US.

The Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki, pictured, whose team’s sponsorship deal is worth $100 million per year. Most Americans disapproive of the tie-up between sports teams and sports betting. (Image: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

But three in five (58%) said it should not be widely promoted on TV, the internet, and through celebrity sponsorships. When respondents were asked whether sports organizations like teams and leagues should be allowed to get involved by partnering with sports betting companies, 71% said they should not.

The findings suggest that while the public has a largely positive perception of sports betting now, that could change when gambling marketing reaches saturation point.

Tidal Wave

A cautionary tale could be the UK, where 17 years of liberalized online gambling advertising has sparked a backlash and triggered impending reforms, which largely have public support. This could include a blanket ban on television advertising and will certainly stymie industry growth and innovation.

Meanwhile, in the US, the liberalization of sports betting has unleashed a tidal wave of competitive advertising, as major players like BetMGM and DraftKings spend big to acquire players.

In 2021, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said his company would drop $1 billion marketing its sport betting app in the following 24 to 30 months.

This led former Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox to complain that “competitors are spending too much to get customers” in a recent interview with EGR.

And, despite the reservations of the American public, every major league now has partnerships with sportsbooks and data companies. The Chicago Cubs’ deal with DraftKings, for example, is worth $100 million per year. It’s a far cry from the days when sports betting was a taboo for the leagues because they believed it threatened the integrity of their games.

Honeymoon Period

For now, at least, sports betting is enjoying its honeymoon period in the US. Even the family and friends of gamblers are cool with it – that’s according to the gamblers themselves, at least. Four in five (82%) of sports gamblers surveyed by Harris claimed that their nearest and dearest approved of their sports betting.

Naturally, football remains the sport most widely bet upon among Americans, according to the survey. Three quarters (77%) of sports gamblers polled had bet on football, while two thirds (64%) had bet on basketball. Some 46% had bet on baseball, and 36% on soccer.

That last figure is likely to have risen since the start of the World Cup (the poll was conducted in September). Today, legal wagering is available to 132 million Americans in their home states, compared to only 10 million during the 2018 World Cup.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 20.5 million Americans are expected to place at least one bet on the tournament. That’s 8% of the adult population.

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