Andrew Curtis, probably the most recognised and quoted general Las Vegas expert around, carried out a poll on Internet gambling earlier this month on his popular Las Vegas Advisor.com website, attracting 5 000 voters who overwhelmingly supported legalised online gambling in the US.
The Las Vegas Advisor poll showed yet again that there is a strong groundswell of support for the pastime, on this occasion by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent. Of particular interest were the reasons for the pro votes – 27 percent indicated they didn't play, but considered it an American individual's right to do so.
The poll ran from July 30 to August 12 and posed the question: "Should online gambling it be legalized? Have recent scandals soured you on "gambling in space"?
Rather than allowing for a simple "yes" or "no" choice, Curtis provided five answers to choose from, subsequently publishing the results on 16 August as follows:
Question: Should online gambling be regulated and legalized in the U.S.? Pick whichever answer best fits how you feel.
Yes, although I don’t like to play online myself, I think everyone should have the right to. 1275 votes – 27 percent.
Yes, and I would play online for money if it was clearly legal. 1104 votes – 23 percent.
Yes, I never stopped playing online but would be happier if it was definitely legal and regulated. 848 votes – 18 percent.
No, there have been too many scandals and I don’t trust that it can be regulated. 839 votes – 17 percent.
No, I think online casinos result in underage gambling and addiction. 733 votes – 15 percent.
The total vote was one of the largest yet in the Las Vegas Advisor series of polls and showed there was "…resounding support for legalization. However, the spread in the Yes/No percentages was more narrow than in other polls we’ve seen.
"With all three Yes categories totaled, 68 percent were in favor of legalization, while 32 percent were opposed via two No categories. That’s a convincing majority, but less than the 75 percent – 92 percent (in favor) that we’ve seen from other sources," Curtis commented – possibly referring to a major Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year.
"Our poll was different from most on this subject in that it gave options to qualify a Yes or No vote," Curtis explained, saying that this yielded some interesting results.
"For starters, considering the 17 percent who voted No due to ‘recent scandals,' it could be argued that as high as 85 percent would be in favor if online gambling was properly regulated," he commented. "But it also illustrates that online problems (hole-card spying in poker likely being the most prominent [a reference to recent Absolute Poker and UltimateBet scandals – ed.] ) are not going unnoticed.
"We also found it interesting that the traditional 15 percent or so that are categorically opposed to online gambling exist even here, on a Las Vegas and gambling site.
"The main reason for a Yes vote was the basic rights-and-liberties argument—"if they want to play, let ‘em play." And a solid 41 percent indicated that they either do already, or would, gamble online if there was proper regulation.
"It’s a result that causes us to reflect on earlier plans to act as a go-between for players and reputable sites. We don’t foresee reliable regulation in the near future, but responsible third-party oversight seems to be the next best thing—but only if that third party had enough clout with the online sites to exert influence," Curtis concluded
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