Americans Want Legalized Sports Betting

With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to hear arguments soon on a case that could upend the country’s sports gambling laws, for the first time most Americans support making wagering on professional sports legal, according to new poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

A 55-percent majority approve of legalizing betting on pro sporting events, a flip from almost a quarter century ago, when a federal law went into effect banning the practice in most of the country and 56 percent of Americans disapproved of legalization in a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll.

While the issue has been debated for decades, the coming months figure to be pivotal for sports gambling in the United States. With the Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on the state of New Jersey’s efforts to legalize sports wagering, major stakeholders from the professional sports world increasingly have showed an openness to the idea, and some see a growing sense of inevitably surrounding an issue that was contentious and divisive not long ago.

“Literally, we’re at the 1-yard line, and it’s first-and-goal,” said Daniel Wallach, a sports gaming law expert and attorney at Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Lauderdale. “That’s how close it is.”

The American Gaming Association is scheduled to hold a briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and public sentiment appears to have moved in a direction that could make it easier for the courts or lawmakers — or both — to reconsider federal legislation that largely limits sports betting to Las Vegas. According to the new poll, the increase in support is broad-based and cuts across most demographics, with support among men and women, young and old and those from lower- and higher-income households.

More at Washington Post

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