Sheldon Adelson isn’t your typical 81-year-old.
Though he could easily retire, the man worth $30 billion is on a crusade to make Internet betting illegal, but a new poll claims the overwhelming majority of residents, at least in Pennsylvania, support online gambling.
Conducted by Omega Group, a market research firm based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, the poll found that likely voters in the Keystone State support online gambling legislation at a rate of 58 percent to 26 percent.
And when it comes to passing a law that would tax iGaming revenues, the margin increases to 66 percent in favor, with just 20 percent opposed.
No one is more excited to hear of Omega’s findings than that of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), an organization that seeks to legalize the game in all forms.
After the Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming, a group backed by Adelson, released a poll late last month that said residents in Pennsylvania oppose online gambling, the PPA rejected the data saying the study was one-sided and set out to get the answers it wanted through carefully worded questions.
Now the PPA has its own numbers to go on, and John Pappas, executive director of the PPA, isn’t holding back in celebrating.
The group immediately fired out a tweet to its followers saying, “New poll says PA residents support regulated iGaming by 2:1 margin! Plz post pro #poker comments on @PennLive story,” the news organization that first reported the polling results.
Speaking on Pennsylvania’s current unregulated Internet gaming market, Pappas says in a press release, “Online poker and other forms of online gaming are already happening in the state but it is completely unregulated and offers no meaningful protections for minors, problem gamblers or safeguards for consumers. It’s clear Pennsylvanians believe there is a problem and they want a solution.”
The PPA is backing legislation authored by State Rep. John Payne (R-District 106) who introduced HB 649, an online poker and gambling bill that would legalize and regulate the market. Should it pass, Pennsylvania would stand to receive “much-needed tax revenue,” according to the PPA.
Adelson and PPA don’t agree on much, nor do their respective polls. The Coalition to Stop Internet Gaming hired a PR company to question citizens in Pennsylvania and they found that 72 percent of respondents had an “unfavorable” view of online gaming, with 64 percent going as far as stating that they have a “very unfavorable” position.
The Coalition’s findings, released on April 28th, 2015, conflict with Omega’s results collected less than 30 days later. Not only do Pennsylvanians not hold unfavorable views in regards to iGaming, they want it legalized at a rate of more than two to one.
Instead of more polling, perhaps the best course of action is to simply put the concept up for vote, not in the state capitol but on the state ballot.
The next election is scheduled for November 3rd, meaning there is ample time for voters to hear both sides of the argument before making a final decision.
Allowing the citizens of Pennsylvania to decide whether they want online gambling might make the most sense. Of course, sensible actions aren’t always adhered to when it comes to politics.