ESPN: Three Questions with Harris Poll CEO Will Johnson on Sports Betting

By David Purdham | ESPN

The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,022 U.S. adults about the growing American regulated sports betting market. CEO Will Johnson participated in an email Q&A with ESPN about the results.

Q: What stood out or really surprised you from the poll results?

A: “How quickly COVID-19 is propelling sports betting into the mainstream. A third of all sports gamblers only began betting on pro sports since the pandemic hit last March. And half say they’re watching sports they didn’t watch before the coronavirus shut things down, though football is still their favorite.”

Q: The buzz word coming out of leagues and sports betting operators is “engagement.” Do the poll results reflect an increase in “engagement” from bettors?

A: “They’re smart to be buzzing about engagement. Two-thirds of all bettors say they watch more games or events since they started wagering on them, and three-quarters say they enjoy watching sports more when they’ve got money on the line. They also bet a lot. A third say they wager on sports at least once a day.”

Q: As sports betting expands across the nation, many people felt bookmakers would be inundated with action on the home teams week after week. What did the poll results reveal about America’s love of the home team?

A: “Winning a bet easily tops a win by your home team. Seventy percent of sports gamblers say they’d bet against a favorite team for a chance to win a bet. One other thing about bettors: Most of them think sports gambling is less risky because they’re skilled enough to beat the odds. For many, this is all about the money.”

Read the full story at ESPN