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41% of Americans believe that online gambling is illegal

True or false: Internet gambling is illegal in the United States? The answer is true to the extent that payment processors cannot process gambling transactions over their systems, but false in the sense that there are no specific statutes that impose a blanket ban on internet gambling across the United States and prohibit US citizens from entertaining themselves in the pastime.

Confused? You’re not alone, according to a new Ipsos survey conducted online as part of a lottery and gaming study, in which only 41% of Americans believed that Internet gambling is illegal.

But with that knowledge, 46% would be willing to see it permitted as long as appropriate government regulations were in place, with as many 25% willing to permit it even without US government regulations.

“While there are controversies and concerns, the idea of legalizing and regulating Internet gambling seems to have some possible upside for the gaming industry in America,” says Paul Lauzon, senior vice president amd md of the Lottery and Gaming Group at Ipsos, a respected research company.

“Currently 9% of Americans admit to spending some money on internet gambling activities in the past year. If Internet gambling were to be permitted and regulated by some form of government, 13% agreed they probably or definitely would spend money on this type of activity during the next 12 months.

"This proportion goes up to 15% if Internet gambling were legally permitted and offered by their favorite land-based casino.”

The study examined the question of who should regulate Internet gambling if it were made legal.

Last year, 55% of respondents felt the US federal government should be the regulator whereas 45% felt it should handled be at the state level.

The 2011 study shows a reversal of roles in U.S. public opinion, with only 45% favoring federal regulation and a more substantial 55% viewing this as a matter for individual states.

“Many states have tabled bills to introduce or regulate various types of Internet gambling," explains Lauzon. "The U.S. Congress actually passed a bill for the DC Lottery to launch ‘intranet’ gaming.

“Some of this information has been in the media quite a bit in the past year and it could be starting to sway public opinion on who should regulate Internet gambling.

"It could also be argued that since the Republicans took over the House in last November’s mid-term elections that there is momentum toward smaller federal government and for state regulators to assume more responsibilities.”

Internet gambling is not without its controversies and scandals. And this is likely having an impact on public calls for regulation, Lauzon added.

“When prompted, 19% of Americans were aware that recently, the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were among 11 people accused of alleged bank fraud, illegal gambling offences and money laundering in an indictment unsealed by federal prosecutors,” he said.

”This event which took place Friday, April 15th, has now become known as ‘Black Friday’ among those in the industry that were or are operating within the U.S. outside legal and regulatory frameworks, but known as ‘Gold Friday’ among those waiting for the landscape to be cleared to set the stage for appropriate legal and regulatory implementation.”

The Ipsos study was based on a sample of 1006 adult Americans accessed online between April 29 and May 1, 2011. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.09%age points - 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in the United States been polled.

Source: InfoPowa News

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