Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans believe the state should not permit online gambling, according to a recent Star-Tribune Minnesota Poll of 800 Minnesota adults. The poll results, published on February 22, reveal that opposition to online gambling is strong across the board, no matter the age, gender, income or party affiliation of respondents.
The poll results were made public just a few days before the Minnesota Legislature convened on February 25, when the session’s first bill was introduced–a bill that would prohibit the Minnesota Lottery from offering online gambling. The measure was authored by Senator Karin Housley.
Lottery officials have been criticized by some legislators for moving into the online sale of lottery tickets and efforts to introduce other online games without legislative approval. Minnesota Lottery Director Ed Van Petten has told legislators that his office does not need their approval to take lottery games online.
The poll results show little support for online gambling, even among younger Minnesotans who, according to lottery officials, are the target market for internet-based games. In the 18-34 age group, only 25 percent of respondents thought the state should permit online gambling, while 58 percent opposed it.
Among registered voters, 66 percent opposed online gambling while 22 percent thought it should be permitted.
The strongest opposition came from respondents who identified themselves as Republicans, with 81 percent believing the state should not permit online gambling. Among Democrats, 54 percent were opposed, while 27 percent thought it should be permitted. Those who identified themselves as Independents opposed online gambling, 63 percent to 28 percent.