Many Americans are firmly of the opinion that states’ rights are important in the United States and often times preferable to federal law. A recent North Star Opinion poll confirms that this view is certainly the case with regard to the issue of online gaming.
The survey was conducted by telephone with 1,000 people in various parts of the United States between January 25 and 29, 2014 and distributed by the Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP), a pro-Internet gambling advocacy group.
The primary question to interviewees pertained to the banning of online gaming by Congress, which resulted in a margin of 57-37 opposed to such a move. Taking the subject further, a sizeable 74 percent said that states should be able to decide on the legalization and regulation of online gaming within their own states’ borders. A total of 33 percent “strongly” oppose a federal online gaming ban, while 22 percent “strongly support” it.
Alison Siciliano from C4COP noted, “These results confirm what anybody with common sense knows: The American public doesn’t want Congress to pass a sweeping ban of all online gaming. A nationwide ban would put more Americans at risk online, and allow the current overseas black market gambling operations to thrive.”
The survey reveals an overall desire by respondents – all of whom were registered voters – to keep the issue of online gaming one that would be handled state-by-state. Their primary concerns include the black market, the ineffectiveness of a prohibition-type law, and attempts to suppress technological progress and innovations on the Internet.
Some of the more detailed highlights of the survey were as follows:
- In favor of states deciding for themselves to allow or ban online gaming: 74 percent.
- In favor of Congress passing a nationwide online gaming ban: 22 percent.
- Supportive of the rights of states to offer fair, regulated online games that raise state/local revenue even though they don’t play themselves: 70 percent.
- Agree that if American companies cannot offer online games, foreign companies will do so, irrespective of American laws: 63 percent.
- Agree that prohibition for online gaming will not work: 63 percent.
- Agree that effective regulations are the best ways to protect children and consumers on the Internet: 75 percent.
Many of those surveyed agreed that certain arguments were very persuasive, such as the statement that Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada have proven that regulations in their states do work, which was persuasive to 69 percent. Similarly, a total of 64 percent agreed that a Congressional ban on online gaming would trample the rights of those three states.
Other persuasive arguments included regulation to keep games safe and fair, the simple reality that online games are not going away, and that they will be run on the black market with no consumer protections if there are no regulations in place in America.
Overall, the majority of those surveyed believe that states should develop their own Internet gaming regulations if they choose to do so. That being said, most agreed that even federal regulations are preferred to a ban on Internet gaming altogether.