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Support for legalizing sports betting nationwide continues to grow, according to the results of a national UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll released Tuesday.

A majority of Americans support making gambling on professional sports legal in all states, according to the poll. The results represent an about face from more than 20 years ago, when 56 percent of those surveyed for a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll opposed legalizing sports betting.

According to the poll, 55 percent of those surveyed support making gambling on professional sports legal in all states – it is legal now only in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon – compared to 33 percent who disapprove of it.

The results come as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear New Jersey’s challenge to the more than 2 decade old federal sports-betting ban. Arguments are expected to be heard in the coming months, with a decision expected in 2018.

If the court overturns the ban, casino properties in Atlantic City are expected to act quickly to take advantage of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue.

“A majority of Americans now favor sports betting, but this is especially true among respondents younger than 50,” said Prof. Joshua Dyck, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, which partnered with The Washington Post on the national poll. “This suggests that support may actually continue to increase in years to come. I would not be surprised if we see a push to legalize sports betting in more states, especially in states with the ballot initiative.”

Legalizing sports betting in the United States would curb a $150 billion illegal market while supporting up to 152,000 jobs, creating an estimated $26 billion in economic output and generating up to $5.3 billion in tax revenue nationwide, according to new research by Oxford Economics released earlier this year.

Support for legalizing sports betting is strongest among avid sports fans, 70 percent compared to 43 percent among non-fans, and 63 percent of men are in favor of it, according to the poll.

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