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Siena/St. Bonaventure Poll: Sports betting in America

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena College and St. Bonaventure University have released a tandem poll, shedding light on online sports betting in America. The poll looked into those who have sports betting accounts, gambling addiction, losses, and more.

Poll results found that 39% of Americans bet on sporting events and 19% have an online sports betting account. 93% of participants say they do so because it’s fun and exciting, 85% say they do so because they can make money, 80% claim they signed up because of a promotion, and 71% say they did so because the money was free.

The poll found that 33% of bettors are men aged 18-34, and 15% are women in the same age bracket. Roughly 15% are 50 or older. 63% have more than one online sportsbook account, and 59% say they bet at least once a week, with 24% making three or more bets weekly.

“While sports betting is popular among sports fans, particularly among young men, significant concerns remain as two-thirds worry that it creates fans with gambling problems,” said Aaron Chimbel, dean of St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication. “In addition, nearly half of all Americans – including more than 40% of avid fans – think online betting will corrupt organized sports, and Americans overwhelmingly support stronger regulations to protect consumers. That said, nearly half the country (49%) supports legalized online sports betting in all 50 states while only 29% call for it being illegal.”

61% of polling participants believe the federal government should “aggressively regulate” online sports betting to protect customers from compulsive gambling, while 32% believe that online sportsbooks do a “good” job of monitoring and responding to the dangers of compulsive gambling. 35% disagree. Conversely, of those who have an account, 67% believe sportsbooks do a good job.

With the big game approaching Sunday, the American Gaming Association says a record 50.4 million adults wagered a total of $16 billion on last year’s game.

“With 75% of Americans saying they’ve seen ads for online sportsbooks, it’s not surprising that one in five have an account,” said Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute’s Director. “Bettors say it’s fun, and a plurality of all Americans, 48-40%, agree that online sports betting is a great form of entertainment allowing fans to gamble responsibly. But, nearly 40% of bettors have felt ashamed about their gambling, or bet more than they should, and one in five have lost money they needed or lied to someone about their betting. Over half have chased a bet, that is, increased the amount they bet in hopes of getting money back after a loss, and 22% have had someone express concern to them about their usage of online sportsbooks. Still, only 9% of bettors have called a problem gambling hotline or sought help.”

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