Poll: New Jersey Residents Support Casinos Outside Atlantic City

New Jersey residents are in favor of expanding casinos in the state, favor sports betting and think online gambling won’t help Atlantic City. Overall, respondents feel casino gambling hasn’t helped the state.

A new Rutgers poll finds that New Jersey residents have a lot of mixed opinions on casinos and gambling, but overall, only one third of them think casinos are good for the state.

The poll by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University found that a majority of state residents think online gambling is bad for Atlantic City, but feel sports betting would benefit the resort.

The poll also found that proposals to expand gambling to other parts of the state are gaining favor.

Just 33 percent of those polled thought casinos as a whole were good for the state, down from 72 percent in 1999. Forty-six percent thought they made no difference, up from 7 percent.

“In the face of Atlantic City’s troubles, most New Jerseyans no longer think gambling is particularly good for the state,” said David Redlawsk, Rutgers political science professor and the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “Nearly four decades after the first casino opened, residents are split on whether gambling should expand and clearly don’t believe some current plans will be of much help to Atlantic City itself.”

State residents also aren’t sold on online gambling, which went live in the state a year ago. Only 8 percent of frequent gamblers say online gambling has helped Atlantic City—the state’s online casinos must be based in Atlantic City—and 59 percent believe it has been bad for the resort.

At the same time, however, 93 percent of respondents said they have never tried to gamble online.

About 44 percent of state residents are in favor of bringing sports betting to the state with only 9 percent saying it would hurt Atlantic City, according to the poll. The state is fighting to bring sports betting to casinos and racetracks despite a federal ban on the practice.

The biggest surprise may be the uptick in support for expanding casinos beyond Atlantic City in the state. About 47 percent of state residents say gambling should be permitted in other, unspecified, parts of New Jersey, up from 35 percent in 1999.

The state has been considering allowing for casinos in the northern part of the state. Currently, casinos are only permitted in Atlantic City. Before any new casinos could be authorized, voters would have to approve the change in a referendum.

In another question, about 62 percent of those polled opposed a proposal by state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. to allow Atlantic City visitors to carry their drinks along the city’s Boardwalk.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5 with a random selection of 842 New Jersey adults with a 4.4 percent margin of error.