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NJ Supports Sports Betting Despite Federal Ban [AUDIO]

It’s against the law to bet on sports in New Jersey because of a federal ban.

Michael Heiman, Getty Images

In defiance of that ban, Governor Chris Christie plans to move forward with allowing sports betting in casinos and racetracks across the state. Christie’s decision gets some support, according to today’s Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey of adults 18 and older.

45% believe the Garden State should allow sports betting at racetracks and casinos, even if federal law prevents it from doing so, compared to 38% who believe New Jersey should wait until the federal ban is repealed by Congress.

Krista Jenkins, Executive Director of PublicMind and professor of political science says, “Although support is not overwhelming, these numbers suggest the public is cautiously behind the goal of moving forward with legalized sports betting.”

58% endorses sports betting regardless of the federal ban. This is a slight increase from the last time PublicMind asked a similar question. In September 2011, 53% said they favor allowing sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks, with 31% opposed.

The survey finds that those who have played slots or visited a casino in the past year emerge as proponents of legalized sports betting. 53% of casino-goers endorse moving forward compared with 41% who haven’t frequented a gaming locale recently.

A majority of men endorse moving forward without a congressional repeal (53%) compared with only four-in-ten women (38%). Republicans (52%) are comfortable allowing legalized sports betting in numbers that significantly exceed Democrats (42%) and independents (40%).

“It’s also interesting to see such stark differences among those who say they have bet on sports in an office pool or some other informal gaming venue,” says Jenkins. “The double digit point difference among office betters and non-betters suggests that informally betting primes the pump for legalizing the practice.”

The poll reveals 58% of office gamers favor moving forward compared with only 42% of non-betting residents who say the same.

The statewide poll of 945 registered and unregistered voters was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from July 23 through July 29, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.

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