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Dueling Surveys

Conflicting findings make the size and scope of the North American market more mysterious

Determining the public’s opinions about online gaming is very complicated, if you consider two polls released within a week of each other.

A survey by market research firm Ipsos Reid surveyed about 1,000 Americans and an equal number of Canadians with the respondents balanced to reflect the demographics of each country, and returned some surprising numbers. According to the poll, a wide majority of citizens in each country believe that internet gaming is legal: 63 percent of Americans and 77 percent of Canadians. This compares favorably with 59 percent and 72 percent respectively in a survey conducted two years ago.

In addition, with appropriate regulations and controls, 49 percent of Americans and 55 percent of Canadians are in favor of online gaming. This finding directly contradicts a study released two weeks earlier by New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University that showed 67 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of online gaming.

“The idea of internet gambling appears to be gaining acceptance in North America, with more people expressing an interest to see it legalized with proper regulation,” says Paul Lauzon, senior vice president and managing director of Ipsos Reid’s Lottery & Gaming Group. “The regulation issue has the biggest impact on American gambling behaviors. Across the board on a number of gambling, betting and gaming options, we see that Americans are more concerned with regulation than Canadians.             

“Comparing a number of legally permitted gambling options, Canadian interest in playing remains almost unchanged based on regulation or no regulation. But Americans feel more comfortable in playing betting games and gambling when there is a system of government regulation in place.”

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