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About One In Four Americans Are OK With Online Gambling At State Level: Poll

Results Despite Feds Effectively Allowing States To Pursue Activity


On the Friday before Christmas 2011, the federal government announced it relaxed its position on intrastate web gambling by surprisingly clarifying a law from the 1960s. Despite states being allowed to pursue the web gambling business on their own terms, only about a quarter of Americans are OK with that, according to a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The Internet gambling question was simply: “Do you favor or oppose allowing states to run betting games online, over the Internet?”

Twenty-seven percent of respondents were in favor of online betting, while 60 percent opposed the activity. Five percent responded with “neither”, while seven percent were “unsure”.

The poll also had results based on age groups, political affiliation, gender and so on. Interestingly, half of those who said they had been to a brick-and-mortar casino within the past year are opposed to the games existing on the Internet.

Fairleigh Dickinson, located in New Jersey, looked at two of the gambling issues facing the Garden State, which has seen Atlantic City slump horribly since around 2006. However, real-money online wagering has become a national issue.

Some on Capitol Hill want to streamline legalization for online poker by passing a federal bill that would allow states to simply chose whether or not to be a member of a nationwide network. Poker is widely regarded as a game of skill, and thus falls slightly outside the general Internet gambling issue. Though, some firms view poker as the gateway to other types of games.

While the federal plan has stalled, a handful of states have moved to discuss authorizing web gambling. They could form partnerships to create liquidity for online poker sites.

Though, no two states are exactly alike, and they might have different plans. For example, there’s friction between what Nevada’s commercial casino industry wants and the desires of a state lottery like the one in Illinois, which already sells tickets on the web.

The Associated Press first reported on the poll Friday, highlighting that the numbers are better for online gambling than they were in the poll’s 2010 sampling.

The poll consisted of 814 registered voters and was conducted nationally by telephone — both landline and cell phones — earlier this month.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.