Poll Finds New Jersey Residents More Interested in Pot than Poker
New Jersey made history just over two months ago when it became the third state in the nation to launch a regulated online gambling market, but now a new poll has found that slightly more Garden State residents are interested in the legalization of recreational marijuana than in playing real money online poker, the Idaho Statesman reported.
9 percentage point swing in poll
The poll was organized by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind.
The results found that while 41 percent of the 734 New Jersey residents surveyed by phone would like to see recreational marijuana use approved in the state, only 32 percent of respondents are in favor of access to real money Internet wagering sites.
New Jersey passed its online gambling bill in 2013, with Governor Chris Christie, lately in the news for his “Bridgegate” scandal, signing the state’s Internet gaming legislation into law in late February of last year. Christie has said many times that he was motivated to approve the law because offering Internet gambling to New Jersey residents and visitors opens up a new revenue stream for Atlantic City’s long-struggling land-based casinos, to which all online betting operations are tied.
Unlike in Nevada, where only online poker is permitted, New Jersey players have access to a comprehensive suite of iGaming options, from real money Internet poker to online forms of classic casino games like blackjack and roulette.
Delaware, the only other state to have passed iGaming regulations, offers a variety of games, much like in New Jersey.
Speaking to the results of the survey, Krista Jenkins, the poll’s director, said, “The public’s attitude was, for several years, warming up to online gambling. But there has been a clear change in direction now that the practice has actually been legalized.”
“Part of the public has always shown deep reluctance to make gambling so accessible in their own homes. Now that it is in fact legal, they may be more concerned than ever,” she continued.
Ads may irritate some folks in the state
In fact, the poll found that fewer Garden State residents support regulated online betting now that the market is active than before it went live back on November 26. A five day test period preceded the November 26 go date – that began on November 26.
An abundance of ads may be contributing to New Jersey residents’ disapproval of the new web sites, the paper said, with 57 percent of those asked saying they were against regulated online betting. A similar poll conducted less than a year ago, in March of 2013, clocked that figure at 46 percent.
And for those who believe that a good game of online poker is best complimented by a hearty toke of marijuana – don’t get your hopes up yet. A minority of New Jersey residents support allowing marijuana use for anything other than medical purposes.
“These numbers point to the possibility that fertile ground exists in the state for those looking to expand legalization beyond medicinal use. Policymakers will likely be watching for changes in public opinion as the percentage difference between those in favor and opposed gets closer to the 50/50 mark. Right now, however, a majority of the public remains opposed,” pollster Jenkins was quoted as saying.
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