PRINCETON, NJ -- The Super Bowl is set to kick off this Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday is not only a big day for football fans, but also for TV watchers, partygoers, and, of course, gamblers. According to Gallup's annual Lifestyle Poll, 17% of Americans report gambling on professional sports in the past 12 months -- either by betting on the outcome of a specific game or by participating in an office pool around a sporting event.
Analysis of the data from the Dec. 6-9 poll finds that four demographic characteristics are related to one's propensity to gamble on professional sports: gender, age, income, and education.
Men (22%) are nearly twice as likely as women (13%) to gamble on professional sports, probably not surprising since men in general are more likely to be sports fans.
Younger Americans are much more likely to gamble on sports than older Americans -- 26% of 18- to 34-year-olds do so, compared with 18% of 35- to 54-year-olds and just 11% of those aged 55 and older.
Just 6% of those living in lower-income households (those with annual incomes of $30,000 or less) gamble on sports, compared with 17% of those residing in middle-income households (incomes between $30,000 and $75,000), but 28% of those in households whose income is $75,000 or greater.
College graduates (24%) are significantly more likely than nongraduates (14%) to gamble on sports.
Gambling on sports in both formats has declined over the past 15 years. In 1992, 12% of Americans said they had bet on a professional sports event in the past year, compared with just 7% today. The percentage who say they have participated in an office pool has dropped from 22% in 1992 to 14% today.