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St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure/Siena Research survey reveals almost 1 in 5 Americans have an online sports betting account

Feb 05, 2024

Thirty-nine percent of Americans bet on sporting events and 19%, including 39% of men 18-49 years old and 20% of women 18-49 years old, have an account with an online sports betting service, according to a new survey of United States adults released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) and St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli sports survey logoSchool of Communication.

Overwhelmingly, online sports bettors say it’s fun and exciting (93%), makes them more interested in watching the games (85%), think they can make money (80%), and that because they signed up with a promotion, the money was free (71%).

Fifteen percent of all Americans including 22% of young men (18-49) and 30% of ‘avid’ fans know someone who has or had a problem with online sports betting.  Of those who place bets with an online sportsbook, 37% have felt bad or ashamed after losing a bet, 38% have felt that they bet more than they should have, 19% have lied to someone about the extent of their betting, and 18% have bet and lost money that was meant for meeting their financial obligations.  By 65-23%, Americans agree that online sports betting will end up creating compulsive gamblers that will cause pain to them and their families.

 “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, SCRI’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,” Levy said.

About online sports bettors from the survey  

  • 33% are men 18-34, 24% are men 35-49, 15% are women 18-34 and 12% are women 35-49. Only about 15% are 50 years old or older.
  • 91% have a betting app on their smartphone.
  • 35% signed up within the past year, 35% signed up more than a year ago but less than two years ago and 29% have had an account for more than two years.
  • 63% have more than one online sportsbook account.
  • 59% bet at least once a week, 24% bet 3 or more times a week.
  • 36% say they win more than lose, 33% say they break even while 30% say they lose more than win.
  • 59% have bet $100 or more in a day, 24% have bet $500 or more in a single day.

“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.”

Attitudes towards online sports betting

  • By 47-39% Americans agree that if you have a system to control your betting, online sports betting is not dangerous.
  • By 37-32% they agree that tax revenue generated by online sports betting benefits taxpayers.
  • By 49-34%, they support online sports betting being legal in all 50 states.
  • But, by 65-23% they agree that online sports betting will end up creating compulsive gamblers and by 47-36% that it will corrupt organized sports.
  • By 55-28% respondents agree that linking an online sportsbook account to a credit card should be forbidden and by 79-14% that any smartphone app that lets people drain their bank accounts in one evening is a bad idea.
  • By 61-27% they agree that the federal government should aggressively regulate online sports betting to specifically protect customers from compulsive gambling.
  • 32% agree that online sportsbooks are doing a good job of monitoring and responding to the dangers of compulsive gambling while 35% disagree. However, 67% of those with an account think the sportsbooks are doing a good job.
  • By 44-39%, Americans agree that online sportsbooks should not be allowed to advertise during sporting events on TV. Interestingly, young men think they should 51-38%.

For detailed survey demographics, click here.


The American Sports Fanship Survey was conducted January 2-7, 2024, among 3071 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel (Lucid) of United States Residents. Data was statistically adjusted by age, region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 1.9 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social, and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Don Levy at 518-783-2901. St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in sports media, journalism, communication and related fields. For more information or comments, please contact Dean Aaron Chimbel at 716-375-2040.