Poll Finds Most Want States to Decide iGaming Issue
In recent months with the emergence of Sheldon Adelson’s well funded Coalition to Stop Internet Betting, the gambling media and the mainstream media alike have devoted a fair amount of ink to talk of a federal ban against real money online poker and casino web sites.
Adelson, a controversial figure both within the world of gaming and outside of it, has minced few words in elaborating exactly why he believes such a ban ought to be enacted not only at the national level, but also at the state level.
In response, earlier this month a consortium of gaming interests announced the formation of a new coalition in opposition to Adelson’s team.
That group, the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP) has the support of the American Gaming Association (AGA), MGM, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), and prominent former lawmakers such as former U.S. Representative from California, Mary Bono, as well as many others.
On the heels of its establishment, C4COP has put out the results of a poll that finds that, contrary to the message Adelson and his cronies are trying so hard to disseminate, in fact most Americans are not in favor of a nationwide ban on online gambling and instead prefer that the states decide whether or not they wish to allow residents to have access to real money online betting sites, politcal web site TheHill.com reported.
Dangers of unregulated market cited
As many online gambling proponents have pointed out for years before C4COP came along, to put in place such prohibitions would likely ultimately offer Americans less protection rather than more protection.
In the absence of regulated, legal online betting operations, offshore companies – which often operate with little or no oversight and very few consumer protections in place – can enter the market and in many cases are able to exist in what amounts to a legal grey area.
“The American public doesn’t want Congress to pass a sweeping ban of all online gaming. A nationwide ban would put more Americans at risk online, and allow the current overseas, black market gambling operations to thrive,” said C4COP spokesperson Alison Harden Siciliano via a statement quoted by The Hill.
Wide margin of support cited in poll memo
According to a memo released by North Star Opinion Research, 57 percent of those surveyed are against a nationwide ban on real money gambling sites, whereas 37 percent of those questioned support such a measure.
In January, one thousand people were asked if they would be in favor of disallowing access to real money online poker rooms and other gambling sites, including in the three states where the market is currently regulated and placing Internet wagers is legal, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
While not everyone surveyed agreed that they would like to be customers of betting sites should they be offered, more than half didn’t believe it was fair to those who do want to play online poker and casino games to outlaw it.
“Voters acknowledge that they may not personally engage in online gaming, but support the rights of other Americans to do so,” said C4COP.
While many supporters of a nationwide online gambling bill, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, have long said that pro-iGaming legislation is unlikely to gain traction in the highly partisan Congress, it remains to be seen whether a measure opposing it would have better chances.
If the survey is to be believed, probably not.
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