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Registered voters in the state of Pennsylvania overwhelmingly support online poker and gambling and would like to see regulations put in place, according to a recent survey.

The results of a poll recently conducted and released by a Pennsylvania-based firm found that 58% of those queried among 769 respondents are in favor of licensed and regulated online gambling. Those opposed tallied 26%, leaving 16% undecided, the Omega Group reported.

Results Differ from Adelson Poll

The new survey comes on the heels of a survey undertaken earlier this month by Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) that found 73% of Pennsylvania respondents opposed to igaming. That poll was carried out by Harper Polling, which is known for conducting surveys with Republican interests in mind.

“In today’s polarized political climate, three-quarters of people rarely agree on anything, but on internet gambling, the Commonwealth’s voters felt strongly and are united,” the CSIG website proudly and unashamedly announced following release of the Harper Polling results. “They are deeply opposed to legalizing internet gambling.”

Omega Findings

The Omega Group, which lists strategic research among its services, found otherwise. Also discovered by the group’s survey was that 80% of Pennsylvanians queried would prefer that igaming regulation include a provision requiring the use of technology to prevent the under-aged from gaining access to gaming sites.

Fifty-two percent also believe that it’s crucial to use the same technology to make sure that problem gambling is prevented by putting limits on deposits, as well as restricting the amount of losses and time played for certain gamblers who show tendencies of addictive gambling behavior. About 29% of respondents did not agree.

Also, 61% of the 769 polled would be more inclined to support a politician who signs off on igaming legislation that protects minors, steers online gambling revenue to much-needed state programs, and permits law enforcement to combat fraud perpetrated at non-regulated poker and gambling websites. Seventeen percent were opposed to that notion, while 22% failed to weigh in one way or the other.

PPA Chimes in

In a press release trumpeting the findings of the Omega Group’s research, Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas stated once again the dangers of unregulated online poker and gambling sites that offer “no meaningful protections for minors, problem gamblers or safeguards for consumers.” The PPA’s main man added that  “It’s clear Pennsylvanians believe this is a problem and they want a solution. They also want to see the state receive the tax benefit of a regulated online poker market for state programs.”

Pennsylvania appears to be next in the queue to follow Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey in approving online poker and gambling legislation. The Keystone State has taken the lead over California, who many observers thought might be next before this year began. But progress in the Golden State has once again stagnated somewhat due to the same old debate of who should be allowed to participate as poker site operators, and who should be left out.

Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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