By Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — A majority of Louisiana residents support legalizing gambling on professional sports, according to an LSU survey released Thursday.
The Legislature is expected this spring to consider legalizing sports gambling. Statewide, 59 percent of survey respondents support the idea while only 35 percent oppose it.
Only 52 percent of participants surveyed in north Louisiana supported legalizing sports betting. The strongest support for comes from the New Orleans area, with 68 percent of adults favoring it. Across south Louisiana, 58 percent supported the policy.
There is virtually no difference in opinions on the issue between Republicans and Democrats. The distinctions lie among the age groups.
Over 70 percent of respondents from ages 18 through 49 support sports betting. However, support drops to 53 percent among adults age 50 to 64 and to 38 percent of adults who are 65 or older.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards recently told the Press Club of Baton Rouge: “There are many different ways that sports betting can be undertaken. We’re trying to figure out what works for Louisiana.”
Edwards, who is running for re-election, expressed concern that Louisiana casinos are losing money to ones in Mississippi, which already legalized sports betting. But The New York Times reported this week that casinos in Mississippi and several other states that legalized sports betting are not bringing in as much money as they had expected.
The survey was conducted by the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. It was based on telephone interviews with 917 adults.