Las Vegas Sun

May 28, 2023

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Nevadans don’t show extraordinary interest in online betting

This wasn’t the welcome that online gambling advocates had hoped for.

A UNLV research study on Internet gambling, revealed today, has thrown some water on the idea of legalizing betting for Nevada residents on the Web, showing what one regulator said was a “surprising” lack of interest in the activity.

In a telephone survey of 1,000 participants, only 3.7 percent said they had gambled online in the past five years – a figure consistent with other nationwide surveys.

Among those who said they didn’t gamble online, 65 percent said they were just “not interested” and 88 percent said they wouldn’t likely start if it was legalized in Nevada.

The study, conducted by UNLV’s International Gaming Institute for the Gaming Control Board, is the first to examine Nevadans’ online betting habits and is aimed at informing state lawmakers who would likely need to propose new legislation to allow Internet gambling, now illegal under federal law, for in-state residents only.

The Board initiated the study based on anecdotal evidence that Web gambling was prevalent in Nevada and a potential tax windfall.

“We don’t want to create a bureaucracy – that could be costly – when a lot of people would not (gamble online), Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said.

Some regulators questioned the truthfulness of respondents, especially since the study was conducted in January 2007 amid a high-profile government crackdown of online gambling sites. UNLV researchers said they didn’tmention the Gaming Control Board to respondents and assured them that their identities would remain confidential.

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