Published: April 12, 2022

WRAL News poll: Majority support for legalized sports betting in North Carolina

Legalized sports betting has majority support across North Carolina, and that support cuts across political ideology and other demographics, according to WRAL News poll results released Tuesday.

About 52% of respondents said sports gambling, including online gambling, should be legalized in the state. Support hit or topped 50% among Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated voters, high school graduates and those with four-year college degrees.

At least 50% of White, Black and Hispanic voters support it. The idea was more popular with men (61%) than women (41%).

A bill to legalize sports gambling across the state has stalled in the General Assembly, but it could get moving again in the coming months after lawmakers come back into session. State Rep. Jason Saine, a bill supporter and part of the Republican majority’s leadership in the House, said he expects movement this year.

Senate Bill 688 has already cleared the state Senate, but needs to pass the House to become law. A vote on the measure would likely come after the May 17 primaries, Saine said.

Saine, R-Lincoln, said he hasn’t gotten much pushback on the idea, even from his conservative district. “Many assume we already have it,” he said.

Those who described themselves as “very conservative” were the least likely to support the idea, clocking in at 44% in the WRAL News poll, which was taken online earlier this month by SurveyUSA. The poll surveyed 2,068 registered voters.

Support was also below 50% among people making less than $40,000 a year, with 48% saying they’d like to see sports gambling legalized.

Social conservatives at the statehouse have pushed back against the proposal, saying it will hurt society and families.

“The legalization of sports gambling would not just apply to friendly office pools and tournament brackets but effectively would turn every phone, tablet, computer, and smart TV in North Carolina into a gambling terminal,” said John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “State-sanctioned sports bookies would pour millions of dollars into aggressive advertising to entice people to gamble, resulting in the victimization of thousands of North Carolina citizens and families who fall prey to gambling addiction.”

Twenty-eight percent of people polled said sports betting should remain against the law. Another 19% said they weren’t sure.

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