Pennsylvanian Poll Shows Support for Legal Online Gambling
A poll carried out in Pennsylvania this month suggests that around two thirds of residents would support the legalization and regulation of online gambling.
Like the majority of states in America, Pennsylvania is yet to pass any legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling of any kind. It is widely considered that it will be one of the next states to do so though, for online poker at least, and a recent poll has indicated that such a move would be supported by residents.
The poll in question was commissioned by the lobbying firm Bravo Group, and it took place earlier this month. Nearly 800 registered voters in Pennsylvania were surveyed for their views on legalized online gambling, with 66% of them responding positively to a question asking if they would be in favor of the state passing a law that would legalize online gambling and tax it “so the money can be used for education and other vital state programs.” Just one fifth of the respondents were opposed to the idea.
It is worth noting that the high support for this proposal is undoubtedly linked to the fact that the question specifically stated that the end result would be additional funding for state programs. The poll also included another question about legalizing online gambling which didn’t mention anything about how the tax proceeds would be used, and percentage of positive responses was lower. It was still 58% though, so it would seem that there is clearly some underlying support for online gambling.
The results of the Bravo Group poll certainly paint a very different picture to those from another recent poll. The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) commissioned a poll just a few weeks ago, and its results suggested that around three quarters of the Pennsylvanian population is against legalizing online gambling in any form.
The CSIG poll, however, was widely criticized for several reasons. In particular there were accusations that the questions asked were very leading, and based on six somewhat spurious related statements. Pennsylvanian state Representative John Payne said at the time that the poll was “designed and orchestrated to give the results they (the CSIG) want.”
While the disparity between the results from these two polls could easily be used to put forward the idea that neither of them should be considered reliable, it would not be unreasonable to hold more credibility to the Bravo Group poll at this point.
Gambling Legislation Proposals in Pennsylvania
There are currently four online gambling bills under consideration in Pennsylvania. One of these (HB 1013) proposes a complete ban on all forms of online gambling, while another (HB 695) calls for the legalization of online poker only. The two other bills (HB 920 and HB 649) are based on legalizing both online poker and online casino gambling.
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