Study: New Jersey and Mississippi Residents Both Broadly Support Sports Betting

Super Bowl LIII (USA Today Sports Images)

The Center for Survey Research at East Carolina University conducted a study of New Jersey and Mississippi residents on legalized sports gambling and gambling activity on the Super Bowl.

Over 1000 residents of these states were surveyed not just because New Jersey and Mississippi were two of the first states to legalize sports gambling after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, but because the states are so different politically and regionally. New Jersey is a “northern ‘blue’ state dominated by Democrats” and Mississippi is “a southern ‘red’ state dominated by Republicans,” the study points out.

Conducted just days after the Super Bowl, researchers found that roughly one in four residents polled reported gambling on the Super Bowl, with over half of young people (21- to 24-year-olds) bet on the event. Other key findings include:

A significant majority of New Jersey and Mississippi residents support legalization of sports gambling.

Close to three-fourths of residents from each state support the legalization of sports gambling. The difference between the two states, New Jersey 76 percent and Mississippi 74 percent, is within the margin of error (3.5 percent).

Despite political and regional differences, New Jersey and Mississippi residents hold remarkably similar views on a variety of issues related to legalized sports gambling.

For example, 30 percent of Mississippi residents think gambling is morally wrong and 22 percent of New Jersey residents believe so.

Religion and partisan identification have little influence on support for legalized sports gambling.

In fact, 70 percent of Evangelical Christians in these states support the legalization of sports gambling, while the number only jumps to 78 percent for non-Evangelicals.  

In terms of ideology, 68 percent of Republicans think gambling on sporting events is morally acceptable, and 76 percent of Democrats agree.

People who think legalized sports gambling is good for their state’s economy outnumber those who think it is bad by a 3-to-1 margin.

43 percent think legalized gambling has been good for their state’s economy, 14 percent think it has been bad, and 43 percent think there’s no effect.

A majority, however, have concerns that legalized sports gambling will lead to higher rates of gambling addiction.

Six out of 10 respondents are concerned that legalized sports gambling will lead to higher rates for gambling addiction.

This survey echoes what other nation-wide studies have shown: That the majority of Americans are becoming increasingly open to gambling. Just last year, a Gallup poll showed that 69% of American say gambling is morally acceptable, up from 65% the year before.

Mississippi and New Jersey are two of 11 jurisdictions in the U.S. that legalized sports betting in some form, with a total of 22 states considering legislation to join them this year.

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is a staff writer for RotoGrinders Sports Betting. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. He has played high stakes DFS since 2013, and enjoys betting on golf, basketball and football – and whatever else is put in front of him. Schmitto is an advocate of The Bettor’s Oath.