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NJ Voters Lukewarm on New Internet Gambling Law [AUDIO]

Opinion is divided in the Garden State over the recent decision by the legislature and Governor Chris Christie to allow online gambling.

internet gambling
Daniel Berehulak, Getty Images

Forty-six percent oppose the recent decision to let casinos in New Jersey to run Internet wagering for people in the state, 41 percent favor it.

These are the findings in today’s most recent statewide poll of registered voters from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

Opinion is more divided today regarding this issue than it was last spring. PublicMind last asked a question about online gambling in May of 2012, and at that time 58 percent opposed the idea, while 31 percent favored online gambling.

“It’s possible that the growth in support for the practice is a consequence of the legislation’s passage,” says Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “Voters may be accepting the inevitable or have acquired new information that brought about a change of heart, given the heightened exposure any new legislation brings with it.”

Republicans (48 percent), men (51 percent), and those with a history of gambling in the recent past at a casino (53 percent) or through wagering in an office pool (63 percent) are among the strongest supporters of the decision.

Among the reasons given by those who support the recent decision, increased revenue for the state is clearly at the forefront of voters’ minds. Two-thirds (66 percent) say the additional money for the state is their major reason for favoring online gambling.

Those who oppose online gambling are clearly worried about the harmful effects the practice will have on society. A third (33 percent) believe families and children will be hurt by caregivers who engage in compulsive gambling, and half are about evenly divided between those who say online gambling will make it too easy to gamble (26 percent) and those who are opposed to gambling in all forms (24 percent).

These concerns are similar to those expressed by Christie, who has indicated that he too considers the social impact of online gambling.

Women are significantly more likely than men to oppose online gambling (53 percent vs. 39 percent, respectively).

The statewide poll of 702 registered voters was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from March 4th through March 10th, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.

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