Nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t believe that sports betting is immoral, yet half of them want to keep the activity illegal.
With the NFL conference championships set to kick off on Sunday, Nashville-based evangelical Christian polling group LifeWay Research decided to survey Americans on whether it was morally acceptable to wager on the outcomes.
The research found that 64% of those polled disagreed with the statement: “it is morally wrong to bet on sports.” A prudish 31% agreed with the statement, while 5% were on the fence.
But the belief that sports betting isn’t immoral didn’t translate into a push for legalization outside of its existing Nevada confines. Nearly half (49%) disagreed with the statement: “Sports betting should be legalized nationwide,” while 40% were in agreement and 11% weren’t sure.
The numbers were more evenly split when it came to daily fantasy sports, with 47% saying DFS should be legal, 46% opposed and 7% unsure.
As might be expected, support for legal sports betting was higher in men (50%) than women (30%). Similarly, a majority of those in the 18-34 age bracket were in favor of legalization, while support dropped to less than one-third among those older than 55 years.
Those with religious beliefs were most strongly opposed to legalization of either sports betting or DFS, with 58% of evangelical Christians opposing the former and 57% agin’ the latter. Despite this stance, only 47% of evangelical Christians believe sports betting is morally unacceptable.
LifeWay VP Scott McConnell noted that there wasn’t a single demographic in the survey that expressed majority support for the view that sports betting was immoral. McConnell called it an “interesting situation” for “more Americans to want something to be illegal than find it immoral.” Seriously, get back to us when you make up your minds, America.