MADISON, NJ - Some New Jersey legislators may be excited about expanding Atlantic City gaming to the Internet, but voters aren’t crazy about it. According to the most recent statewide survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™, about three in five New Jersey voters (58%) oppose allowing New Jersey casinos to run betting games over the Internet for people in the state; just 31% say they favor it, a two-to-one margin against.
“Online gambling may be a good bet for new state revenue,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll, “but lots of voters don’t think it’s a good bet for New Jersey households.”
Opposition to Internet betting is widespread even though three-of-five voters (60%) support legal sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, while just a quarter (26%) oppose it.
Opposition to Internet gambling reaches across many groups. Women oppose it (65%-25%), as do men (52%-37%). Those who have not been to a casino in the past year oppose it (62%-26%), but even those who recently have been to a casino or slots parlor oppose it (51%-42%). The younger the voter, the more likely he or she is to support it, but only those 30 and under show a majority in favor (57%-39%).
Republican and Democratic voters oppose Internet gambling in similar numbers (58% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats), even though they both favor sports betting. And changing the question from Internet “gambling” to the more industry-friendly Internet “gaming” doesn’t change the outcome significantly.
However, the picture changes when asking about selling lottery tickets online. In this case, 48% oppose it, and 43% favor it, just a five point margin in opposition.
Three-of-five voters (59%) also say they are “not very” or “not at all confident” that the state currently prevents people from spending too much of their money on gambling. Moreover, nearly three-quarters (73%) say they are “not very” or “not at all confident” that the state can keep people from blowing too much of their money on lottery tickets were they to be offered online to New Jerseyans. Worse, four-in-five (79%) say they are “not very” or “not at all confident” that the state would prevent people from diverting too much of their money to betting games—games like poker and blackjack—if those were offered over the Internet.
“I suppose there is something to be said for losing money without the inconvenience of leaving town,” said Woolley, “but that’s usually called property tax or alimony.”
Nonetheless, voters ultimately believe individuals are responsible for keeping their spending in casinos and on lottery tickets in check, not the state’s. Seventy-nine percent say individuals must be responsible for what they spend, while 16% say the state must put procedures in place to make sure that people don’t spend too much money.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 797 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from April 30 through May 6, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.