Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Regulation, Not Ban, of Internet Gambling
Overall, only 40 percent of Americans believe online gambling should be illegal, according to the pollsters.
Late last week the U.S. Senate passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act--legislation that seeks to ban banks and credit card firms from processing payments for online gambling wagers, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill during the next two weeks.
Two leading U.K.-based Internet gambling companies, PartyGaming and 888 Holdings, said that they may suspend some gambling operations in the U.S. if the president signs the bill.
The strong attention to the issue comes as the U.S. Congress stands just a few weeks away from the Nov. 7 elections. Republicans, who have held the majority since 1994, are at risk of losing control, of at least the House of Representatives, especially as scandals, like that involving a gay Republican Congressman, Mark Foley (R-Fla.), flirting with young boys by e-mail, take a toll on their conservative image.
Growing NumbersOnly 3 percent of those surveyed by Rasmussen say they've gambled on the Internet, whilst 96 percent haven’t. By contrast, 71 percent of those polled said they have purchased lottery tickets and 34 percent said they have partaken in a sports betting pool or bet on a sporting event. The draconian measure, approved by the Senate, does not affect online horse racing bets, fantasy leagues or lotteries, experts told Onlinecasinocrawler.com.
According to the poll, men are more likely than women to gamble online. When it comes to sports betting, though, 46 percent of men and 23 percent of women say they have participated in pools.Technologically sophisticated gamblers are spending a lot of money to fuel the emerging Internet gambling industry. Sales from Internet gambling sites is still estimated to reach $23 billion by 2009 according to a report by Christiansen Capital Advisors. The number of online gambling Web sites has increased from 30 in 1994 to more than 2,000 in 2005, the firm said.
Democratic DivideForty-seven percent of Republicans said online gambling should be illegal, and 33 percent said it should not. Democrats are evenly divided with 41 percent on each side of the matter, the pollsters said.
This national telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted from September 16-17, 2006. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence by Rasmussen Reports, an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
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