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HomeNewsArchivesCASINOS DO BEST, VIDEO LOTTERY A LOSER IN POLL

CASINOS DO BEST, VIDEO LOTTERY A LOSER IN POLL

Aug. 16, 2001 – In the most recent Source poll asking readers their views on the merits of legalized casino, Internet and video lottery gambling in the territory, respondents made it clear they would have done what Gov. Charles W. Turnbull did last week: just say no to video lotteries.
Fewer than 3 percent of the 567 persons taking part in the poll expressed support for video gaming, with or without the other two forms of gambling.
The largest vote territory-wide, 37 percent, was for casinos but against both Internet and video lottery gaming. This option drew even higher support on St. Croix — 44 percent. For St. Thomas and St. John readers, this stance could represent a "known versus unknown" bias, but for residents of St. Croix, it's a bread-and-butter issue. The Big Island is the only place where a casino exists in the Virgin Islands, and the only place where any others will be allowed as the law now stands.
The second-largest bloc of votes — 25 percent overall and 28 percent on St. Thomas — was against all three forms of legalized gaming.
Two other options attracted almost all of the other votes on a territory-wide basis: 17 percent were in favor of all three forms of gambling, while 16 percent came out for casinos and Internet gaming but against video lotteries.
The other four options (for casinos and video lotteries but against Internet gambling; for Internet and video lotteries but against casinos; for Internet but against casinos and video lotteries; and for video lotteries but against casinos and Internet) taken all together drew less than 6 percent of the total vote.
Aside from those respondents who opposed all forms of legalized gambling, the overall percentage who expressed opposition to casino gaming was less than 4 percent, strongly suggesting a general acceptance of the casino gaming industry, which has been a presence on St. Croix for a year and a half.
Again aside from those who opposed all three types of gaming, the overall percentage of respondents opposing Internet gaming was 39 percent. Legalized online gaming does not yet exist anywhere in the United States but enabling legislation was just signed into law in the territory, making the Virgin Islands the second U.S. locale to approve it, after the state of Nevada. Proponents have touted it as a cash cow potentially worth millions of dollars in annual fees and percentages of the take that would be paid into government coffers by franchisers.
Questions and reponses by island and total
Which of the following best expresses your view regarding legalized gaming in the Virgin Islands?
– I'm for casinos, Internet gaming and video lottery terminals.
STT 62, STX 28, STJ 5 = 95 (17 percent)
– I'm against casinos, Internet gaming and video lottery terminals.
STT 81, STX 50, STJ 14 = 145 ( 25 percent)
– I'm for casinos and Internet gaming but against video lotteries.
STT 31, STX 55, STJ 2 = 88 (16 percent)
– I'm for casinos and video lotteries but against Internet gaming.
STT 8, STX 4, STJ 0 = 12 (2 percent)
– I'm for Internet gaming and video lotteries but against casinos.
STT 3, STX 0, STJ 0 = 3 (less than 1 percent)
– I'm for casinos but against Internet gaming and video lottery terminals.
STT 87, STX 111, STJ 9 = 207 (37 percent)
– I'm for Internet gaming but against casinos and video lottery terminals.
STT 9, STX 3, STJ 0 = 12 (2 percent)
– I'm for video lottery terminals but against casinos and Internet gaming.
STT 4, STX 1, STJ 0 = 5 (less than 1 percent)
– All votes:
STT 285, STX 252, STJ 30 = 567

Editor's note: This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we feel that, as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory, the results are interesting and worth considering. We invite and encourage readers to consider voting in Source polls to come.

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