Poll: Leave online gambling to states

Most people believe states should decide whether to regulate online gambling and are opposed to a federal ban, according to a new survey.

The Coalition for Consumer and Online Protections (C4COP), a gambling advocacy group, released a survey Tuesday that found three out of four voters believe states should have the right to legalize online gambling for their own citizens. The poll also found that 57 percent of voters are opposed to a federal ban.

“The American public doesn’t want Congress to pass a sweeping ban of all online gaming,” Alison Harden Siciliano, C4COP spokeswoman, said in a statement. “A nationwide ban would put more Americans at risk online, and allow the current overseas, black market gambling operations to thrive.”

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Congress has not yet taken up the issue, but gambling opponents are calling for a federal ban that would primarily affect three states — New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware — that have already legalized online gambling.

The survey, conducted during the last week of January, interviewed 1,000 voters across the country, including 39 voters combined from New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.

The survey was conducted by North Star Opinion, which is a Republican polling company. But C4COP said online gambling is a bipartisan issue, as their gambling group has support from both Republicans and Democrats.

The survey found wide bipartisan support, including 74 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats, who believe states should be allowed to regulate online gambling.

About two-thirds of voters also said a potential congressional ban would "trample on the rights" of states that have already legalized online gambling.

"Voters acknowledge that they may not personally engage in online gaming, but support the rights of other Americans to do so," C4COP said in a press release about the survey.

C4COP argues a ban would be dangerous for consumers, because some gamers would take their money to foreign black markets, which are not regulated.

The survey found that 63 percent of voters agree with the assertion that a federal ban would promote illegal black market gambling with companies that operate overseas and are not regulated.

However, the survey also found that 22 percent of voters "strongly support" a federal ban on online gambling.

C4COP is backed by gambling industry leaders such as the American Gaming Association, MGM and Poker Players Alliance.