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Gallup: US acceptance of gambling at record high


A record 71% of Americans view gambling as a “morally acceptable” activity, according to new polling figures from opinion polling giant Gallup.

In an annual poll of Americans’ views on a variety of activities, gambling was scored as the fifth-most “morally acceptable” behaviour, behind only birth control, divorce, drinking alcohol and premarital sex.

The figure was an increase from 68% during 2019’s poll and exceeded the high of 69% recorded in 2018.

Gambling’s acceptability in the minds of Americans reached a low point of 58% in 2009.

The percentage of people who viewed gambling as “morally wrong” declined to a new low of 27%, from 31% in 2019.

This was the fifth-lowest figure in terms of those who said an activity was “morally wrong”, behind the same four activities that were most likely to be considered “morally acceptable”.

The view of gambling as morally acceptable was a popular one across all demographics, with little variation. There was some difference across political views, however, with 78% those who described themselves as liberal and 75% of self-described moderates deeming gambling acceptable, while 61% those who said they were conservative approved of gambling.

The percentages of those who said gambling was morally wrong among liberals, moderates and conservatives were 1%, 23% and 36% respectively. 

The difference was much smaller between party affiliations, however, with 76% of self-identified Democrats viewing gambling as acceptable compared to 70% of Republicans and 69% of independents.

Gambling was one of only two activities have strong bipartisan support, with 70% or more of both Republicans and Democrats saying it was permissible. 

Males (72%) were slightly more likely than females (69%) to approve of gambling. Approval was also higher, at 76%, among white respondents, than non-white respondents, of which 60% said gambling was morally acceptable.

Among those who graduated from college, 75% said gambling was acceptable, while 62% those with a high school education or less said the same and 78% of those with some college education did so.

Among every age group, between 70% and 71% said they saw gambling as morally acceptable.

In October 2019, a national survey commissioned by the American Gaming Association reported that 49% of respondents in the US said their views of the gambling industry were favorable, also a record high.