For the first time ever, a majority of Americans are in favor of legal sports betting. That’s the big takeaway from a recent survey conducted by the Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

According to the survey, a whopping 55 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing legal wagering on professional sporting events. The WaPo goes on to point out that is a big turnaround from a similar survey conducted by USA Today in 1992 when 55 percent of Americans were opposed to legal sports betting.

Even better, from a couple different perspectives, is that this is one of the very few issues that Americans agree on regardless of their political persuasion. Around 52 percent of Republicans support regulated sports betting, while 57 percent of Democrats are in support. (That’s as close as Americans get to political unity these days.)

So why the sudden surge in support for an activity that’s been illegal everywhere except Nevada for several decades? It seems as though the popularity of fantasy football is helping muster support for other forms of wagering. The survey found that 79 percent of those who play fantasy sports are also in favor of regulated sports betting.

A surge in support for sports betting really couldn’t come at a better for the gaming industry. The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing the State of New Jersey’s arguments for legalization in the near future and public support can’t hurt their case.

The survey’s findings were not particularly surprising to American Gaming Association chief Geoff Freeman who has himself seen the shift in how Americans view regulated sports betting. He told the WaPo,”As our industry expanded, we confronted a lot of fears, a lot of concerns, and what time has shown is that those fears and concerns were often misplaced.”


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