July 13,2012 : CALIFORNIAN VOTERS SPLIT ON INTERNET GAMBLING
Latest Field poll shows that voters are receptive to sports betting, split on online poker
The latest Field poll on internet gambling in California shows that most California voters are ready to add sports betting to the portfolio of legalised gambling in the Golden State, but they are split on whether the state should allow residents to play poker over the Internet.
Both proposals are the subject of pending legalization. A bill that would allow sports betting if Congress or the courts ever lifted the federal restrictions on it has passed the Senate and one Assembly committee. But a measure to legalise online poker stalled at its first committee hearing last month.
The Field poll found that 58 percent of voters support the legalization of sports betting, with 35 percent opposing the idea.
There is a more reserved attitude toward internet poker, however; where 49 percent of respondents were for the concept but 45 percent were against it.
Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said voters seem receptive to the trade when it comes to sports betting, but are more cautious about letting people play poker – and potentially losing big – without ever leaving the house.
“Before you know it you could be down quite a bit of money,” he said. “That greater exposure to risk I think is what’s driving the greater opposition to that in certain groups.”
The latest poll shows a slight decline in support for the introduction of online poker since the last poll, conducted in September 2011, which found that 53 percent of registered voters want to licence and regulate online poker and have the state tax its proceeds, and 41 percent opposed it.
Support for the idea is higher among Democrats, independents and men. Republicans and women are more concerned about the possible impact of online poker, according to the poll. There’s also a major age difference, with older voters far more opposed than the younger generations, which are more comfortable online.
The Field poll contrasts markedly from one published by the Poker Association last month, finding that 76 percent of voters favoured regulating and taxing online poker, spokesman Ryan Hightower said.
“Voters said they support online poker because of the revenue it will generate for California’s economy,” he advised.
The Field poll was conducted between June 21-July 2 among 997 voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.