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State voters of two minds about legalizing online poker, poll finds

May 29, 2012 |  1:41 pm

A new poll shows that voters are of mixed minds about an idea being considered to generate income for the cash-strapped state: legalization of online poker and other forms Internet gambling.

In a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey, about half of the respondents said the spread of web-based gambling would set a bad example for young people and make it more likely they would become addicted.

Still, 47% said they would favor legalization of online poker if, as lawmakers promise, it could raise $200 million annually for education, public safety and other government services.

Online gaming has been effectively illegal in the United States since the passage of a 2006 law that banned Internet gambling companies from performing transactions with American financial institutions. State lawmakers have been struggling to come up with a way around the law, allowing for gaming sites that are operated in state, and where only California residents would be able to play.

Stay tuned for more poll findings in the coming days.

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll was conducted jointly by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic firm, and the Republican polling company American Viewpoint.

They canvassed 1,002 registered voters from May 17 through 21. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

Related links:

California offered a piece of the action from Internet poker

Internet poker battle waged in Sacramento

FBI shuts down Internet poker sites

--Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo Credit: Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images