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Americans Continue to Support Legalized Gaming, According to GTECH Survey

6 October 1998

WEST GREENWICH, R.I. -- GTECH Corporation's National Gaming Survey shows that Americans continue to support legalized gaming, and once again, bingo and lotteries top the list of legal gaming activities favored.

Conducted by American Viewpoint, Inc., the sixth annual survey polls Americans' opinions and attitudes about gaming and a number of associated issues.

Sixty-seven percent of the 1,200 Americans surveyed nationwide approve of legalized gaming—an increase from last year (62 percent)—representing continued support over the past six years. Three of four (76 percent) approve of bingo and more than seven of ten (72 percent) approve of lotteries, an increase from last year (69 percent).

"This is the second year in a row that we have seen an increase in public approval of legalized gaming, the largest margin since 1994," said Gary Ferguson, senior vice president of American Viewpoint, Inc., the national public opinion firm that conducts the survey for GTECH. "Although approval levels have always been above 60 percent, this year's approval level represents a substantial increase over the past three years."

A solid majority (70 percent) of those surveyed consider legalized gaming to be an acceptable form of entertainment, an increase from last year (66 percent). The results mark the sixth consecutive year that more than 60 percent of the respondents consider legalized gaming to be an acceptable form of entertainment. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of respondents believe legalized gaming creates jobs and increases tourism.

"It is clear that a majority of Americans recognize the value of lotteries and other forms of legalized gaming in their states," GTECH Chairman and CEO William Y. O'Connor said. "It is important to note that the findings also show that where good causes are specifically supported, such as education and senior citizen programs, Americans overwhelmingly support legalized gaming."

Two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed living in states without a lottery say they would favor having a lottery in their state. In a new finding, if given the opportunity to vote on the lottery in a state-wide referendum, more than three of five (63 percent) of those surveyed living in states with a lottery would vote to continue the lottery.

Thirty-four percent of those surveyed perceive the leading benefit of having a state lottery to be the educational funding derived from lottery revenues. In fact, 59 percent responded that they would be more likely to play the lottery if the proceeds were earmarked for a specific purpose such as education. More than half (54 percent) of those surveyed believe lotteries contribute to keeping state government taxes lower. By a nearly two-to-one margin, respondents favor legalized gaming (62 percent) over paying higher taxes (28 percent). This margin jumps to more than three-to-one when the choice is between lotteries (69 percent) and higher taxes (22 percent).

The survey shows that more Americans (70 percent) are playing lotteries more than any other form of legalized gaming. Among those surveyed who are lottery players, 68 percent have played instant lotteries in the past year, 34 percent have purchased a daily numbers ticket, 43 percent have played games like PowerBall(TM) or The Big Game—an increase of 13 percent from last year—and 62 percent have played games like Lotto. "With this year's large PowerBall jackpots, we find awareness of games like PowerBall and The Big Game at 84 percent," O'Connor said. In addition to the major increase in awareness of Lotto-style games, 47 percent of those surveyed living in states that offer PowerBall have played in the last week—an increase in play level of more than 30 percent from 1997."

GTECH Corporation is a worldwide supplier of computerized on-line lottery products and services. The company currently has contracts to supply and/or operate lottery systems for 29 U.S. customers and 49 customers outside of the United States. For more information about the company, visit

American Viewpoint, Inc., of Alexandria, Virginia, conducted the survey between July 24 - August 3, 1998. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,200 randomly selected adults nationwide. The statistical margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. A summary of key findings and chart on players' game preferences follow. For a brochure outlining GTECH's 1998 National Gaming Survey, contact Amy Kempe, GTECH Public Relations at 401.392.7452.

1998 National Gaming Survey Key Findings

  1. Americans continue to approve of legalized gaming by a 2:1 margin: 67% approve and 29% disapprove. This is the second year in a row we have seen an increase in public approval of legal gaming. Over six years, approval of gaming has been consistently high.
  2. Seven out of 10 (70%) agree that legalized gaming is an acceptable form of entertainment.
  3. Bingo and the lottery remain American's favorite forms of gaming. Favorability toward the lottery has returned to over 70% (72%) after a slight dip last year. This is the fifth out of six years that more than 70% of all Americans have a favorable opinion of lotteries. The 76% support level for bingo is virtually unchanged over six years.
  4. Americans support lotteries regardless of geographic region, age, education, or income. From rural areas to big cities, both men and women are in favor of lotteries.
  5. In a new finding, the vast majority of Americans living in lottery states (63%), would vote to continue their lottery if they had the opportunity to vote on the lottery in a state referendum.
  6. A 66% majority of those in non-lottery states would like to see a lottery in their state, and 51% strongly favor a lottery. Support is highest in the South Atlantic region which includes North and South Carolina. The survey also finds an increase in cross-jurisdictional play.
  7. As in the past, Americans report that they not only favor lotteries, they are playing them. More Americans (70%) play the lottery than any other form of legalized gaming, and 25% report playing at least once each week.
  8. Lottery play remains ubiquitous, with 70% of the respondents having purchased some kind of lottery product in the past year. Among lottery players, 68% have played instant lotteries in the past year; 34% have purchased a daily numbers ticket; 43% have played games like PowerBall or The Big Game; and 62% played games like Lotto. With the exception of a big increase in PowerBall play, these numbers are similar to last year's. The jump in PowerBall play may be attributable to any of several factors: that we added The Big Game (a multi-jurisdictional game) to this question, the increase in play before the big jackpot in July 1998, or simply an increase in play levels in general.
  9. A majority of Americans recognize the positive aspects of legalized gaming: 77% agree that legalized gaming creates jobs and increases tourism; 62% prefer legalized gambling as an alternative to higher taxes, and 53% agree that legalized gambling helps state governments keep taxes lower than they would otherwise be able to.
  10. As with legalized gaming in general, we continue to find that Americans believe the economic benefits of lotteries outweigh the perceived disadvantages. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) would prefer to have lotteries than pay higher taxes; 63% say that lotteries are an acceptable form of entertainment; and 54% believe that lotteries help state governments keep taxes lower than they would otherwise be able to. Respondents place particular value on the funds provided by the lottery for education as well as other economic benefits of the lottery.
  11. Although a majority of Americans have not yet explored new forms of gaming (e.g. via television, cable TV, or the Internet), these venues may still represent significant niche markets. There has been a significant increase in Americans' access to the Internet, and this marketplace has tremendous growth potential.

Who Plays What Game How Often

Type of Game Frequency of Play Most Frequent Players
Instants or Scratch-Offs Almost seven out of ten lottery players report buying an instant lottery ticket at least once last year Play levels remain highest among 18-24 year-olds. Women are more likely to play than men. Weekly reported play is highest in the Midwest and lowest in the West. Players can be found across all income and education levels.
Large Jackpots (Lotto-Type) Overall, 62% of lottery players reported playing Lotto last year - with 23% playing in the past week. Regular lotto play is highest in the East,among those 45-54, among men, and in households earning $50,000 or more.
PowerBall / Big Game Numbers are way up this year. Nationally, 43% say they played games like PowerBall or the Big Game last year. Of those who live in PowerBall states, 47% say they played in the last week. Cross- jurisdictional play increased this year. The most frequent players are in the Midwest, men age 35-54, and those earning $30-50,000.
Small Prizes (e.g. Daily Numbers) Only 34% of lottery players play this type of game. Weekly play is highest in the East and South and among men 55+.
Video Lotteries Awareness of video lotteries has increased to 53%. Video lottery players tend to be 18-34.
State-Sponsored Keno Available only in nine states, Keno play increased to 12% this year. 58% of all players are under 45 years of age. Men and women play in equal numbers.

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