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Americans Overwhelmingly Support Legalized Gaming, Survey Says

27 September 2000

WEST GREENWICH, Rhode Island -- (Press Release) -- Sept. 27, 2000 -- Lotteries enjoy overwhelming electoral support and the American public firmly believes that gaming issues should be decided by states, not the federal government, are two of the key findings announced today as part of GTECH Corporation's 8th Annual National Gaming Survey.

In addition, the survey indicates that more than two thirds of Americans approve of legalized gaming, and, by a more than 2-1 margin, agree that lotteries are an acceptable form of entertainment.

Lotteries remain America's most played game, as more than seven in ten Americans surveyed report purchasing a lottery ticket in the last 12 months. Conducted by American Viewpoint, Inc., the annual survey measures Americans' attitudes and behaviors towards gaming.

Overwhelming Electoral Support For Lotteries:

Seventy percent (70%) of survey respondents would vote in favor of continuing their lottery. Ballot support for lotteries is strong across all regions of the country and amongst all age groups. Seventy four percent (74%) of ticket-splitters, 70 percent of Democrats, and 61 percent of Republicans say they would back the lottery if the issue were put before them in a statewide referendum.

By a 2-1 margin (66%-32%), survey respondents from non-lottery states would vote for establishing a state lottery if given the chance. The survey finds that support for establishing a state lottery in non-lottery states is solid, as 50 percent say they would vote ``definitely for'' a lottery.

Gaming is Issue for States to Decide:

Overwhelmingly, the American public supports a state's right to decide gaming issues. More than 70 percent (74%) say the states, not the federal government, should decide which forms of gaming are offered in their state. Moreover, by a decisive margin (72%-16%), Americans agree that the states, not the federal government, should regulate the various forms of gaming.

``These findings are very interesting, particularly in an election year,'' said W. Bruce Turner, GTECH's chairman. ``There have been two separate efforts in the last two years by the federal government to impose federal controls over gaming; the National Gaming Impact Study Commission, and more recently, legislative efforts to regulate Internet gaming at the federal level. The American electorate -- across the entire political, social, and economic spectrums -- strongly supports lotteries and believes that gaming issues should be decided and regulated by the states, not the federal government.''

Record Approval, Acceptance and Favorability Ratings:

The survey indicates that Americans continue to strongly approve of legalized gaming (69%-25%), marking the highest approval rating for legalized gaming in the survey's eight years. Americans also regard lotteries as an acceptable form of entertainment (65%-31%), equaling the highest level of acceptability in the survey's last five years. The survey indicates that these majority views are held across all regions and all age, income, racial, education and political groups.

Nearly three quarters of respondents (73%-24%) favor lotteries, marking the highest favorability ratings for lotteries in five years, and the 7th time in eight years that lotteries have enjoyed favorability ratings in excess of 70%.

Lotteries-America's Most Played Game:

More than 70 percent (72%) of Americans report purchasing a lottery ticket in the last year, making lotteries once again the most widely played form of gaming in the United States. Lottery players mirror the population in terms of age, education, political ideology and income. Lottery spending trends remain consistent with past surveys as well.

Lotteries versus Taxes:

The survey indicates that Americans strongly prefer having lotteries to paying higher taxes (72%-22%). Even among conservatives who attend religious services frequently, a 56% majority would rather have a lottery than higher taxes. And for the 5th consecutive year, a majority of survey respondents (54%-36%) agree that lotteries help state governments keep taxes lower.

Dedicate Lottery Proceeds/Fund Education:

By more than a 3-1 margin (65%-19%), respondents indicated that they would be more likely to play the lottery if proceeds were earmarked for a specific purpose. Significantly, a plurality (42%) of those who do not currently play the lottery report they would be more likely to play if proceeds were earmarked for a specific purpose. Education is widely seen as the most appropriate use of lottery proceeds (54%), followed by improving roads and transportation (17%), providing long-term care for the elderly (8%), and protecting the environment (7%).

``The American public strongly favors the lottery. Once again, and by wide margins, Americans approve, support, and regard lotteries as an acceptable form of entertainment,'' said Gary Ferguson, senior vice president of American Viewpoint, Inc, conductor of the survey. ``People recognize its benefits, and would be more inclined to support their lottery even more if lottery proceeds were dedicated to a specific cause or program like education.''

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