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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Research Shows Most North Americans Think Online Gambling is Legal

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A recently released study by Ipsos Reid’s Lottery and Gaming Group proved interesting in that not only did the majority of North Americans believe that gaming was already legal but most of them then favored such legality. The survey provided an interesting look at the beliefs of people and the effect of those beliefs on their opinions about the topic of online gaming.

Based in Canada, Ipsos Reid is a marketing intelligence company that conducts public opinion research. The most recent survey was conducted with American and Canadian residents and asks questions regarding the legality of internet gambling as well as acceptance of a regulated system that allowed such a practice. Answers were recorded between January 4 and January 7, 2010, and the participants included 1,006 U.S. adults and 1,032 Canadian adults.

The results showed that most people were unaware of the current status of online gaming, which in itself remains in a bit of a gray area but is certainly not overtly legal and not regulated by the governments of Canada or the United States. Canadian residents were the most uninformed, with only 23 percent of them aware that internet gambling was not formally legalized, which was a downswing from two years ago when 28 percent reported such awareness. And U.S. residents saw a similar trend, as 37 percent currently acknowledged the correct status of online gaming, down from 41 percent two years ago.

With regard to a regulated system of online gambling practices, something that many are pursuing in both Canada and the U.S., people were receptive to it as long as the regulations were in place. Out of the Canadians surveyed, 55 percent were in favor, and of the Americans, 49 percent were in favor, and both numbers were increased from the 2007 study in which 48 percent of Canadians and 46 percent of Americans held the same opinion. Further, if online gaming were to be made legal, a significant 67 percent of Canadians felt that the federal government, rather than individual states, should be in charge of the regulation, while 55 percent of Americans shared that view.

Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Ipsos Reid, Paul Lauzon, noted, “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. Governments also appear to be doing a poor job at informing citizens that internet gambling is in face illegal unless regulated by a state or provincial authority. Over a two year period, we’ve found that fewer people are aware that internet gambling is illegal in their country.”

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