Poll: Support for casinos at new high

Results of a national survey released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association show public support for casinos is at an all-time high, with 57 percent of respondents expressing approval of them, and nearly nine in 10 saying they consider gambling in general to be an acceptable activity.

Since 2009, the percentage of people who find gambling unacceptable for anyone has declined from 17 percent to 11 percent, the association, a trade group representing commercial casinos, reported.

Connecticut's two casinos, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, are owned by Indian tribes and are considered non-commercial.

The poll found that 63 percent of casino visitors own a home and that 70 percent of them consider themselves "middle class" or "upper middle class." Forty-six percent of the respondents indicated they are college graduates and 35 percent attend religious services every week. Twenty-six percent described themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents are 21 to 49 years old, and 23 percent earn between $60,000 and $99,000 a year.

The association released the results Monday along with the latest statistics on nationwide gross gaming revenues for commercial casinos, which increased 1 percent from $37.34 billion in 2012 to $37.78 billion in 2013.

The poll found that 74 percent of voters believe casinos promote job creation, while 59 percent said casinos help the economies where they are located. In what the AGA identified as the poll results' "bottom line," 51 percent of the respondents said casinos should be taxed like any other business.

Recent polling in Massachusetts, where gaming regulators could eventually license up to three resort casinos, revealed different attitudes than the AGA survey. A Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll found that 47 percent of likely Massachusetts voters disapprove of casinos in their state, while 37 percent approve of them. In February, a similar poll found 51 percent of voters approved of casinos whiled 37 percent disapproved.


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