Category Archives: Atlantic City

New Jerseyans Support Appointment of Emergency Manager for Atlantic City

We turn today to beleaguered Atlantic City today. We asked a few questions about the appointment of an emergency manager announced by Gov. Christie last month.  While some political players have criticized the move, it turns out that the New Jersey public is in sync with the governor on this one. Nearly 60 percent favor the move, while 35 percent oppose it.

The full text of the release follows. Click here or a PDF of the release, with text, questions, and tables.

 

ATLANTIC CITY FUTURE LOOKS DIM ALTHOUGH NEW JERSEYANS AGREE
STATE NEEDS TO SUPPLY HELP

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Despite backlash from state and city officials, and credit rating agencies, 57 percent of New Jerseyans – a solid majority – agree with last month’s appointment of an emergency management team to assist in solving Atlantic City’s financial issues. Thirty-five percent think Atlantic City should be left to handle these issues on its own, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Seven percent remain unsure.
Support for the decision remains high, regardless if the decision was said to have been made by “Gov. Chris Christie,” the main target of criticism for doing so, or by the “New Jersey government,” the poll finds.

Even with the appointment of the emergency manager, respondents believe Atlantic City’s future remains bleak. Sixty-three percent say the resort town’s best days are behind it, while just 25 percent believe they are yet to come – virtually unchanged since an October 2014 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Moreover, just 38 percent of New Jerseyans report having visited the resort town in the past 12 months, down slightly from the 43 percent who had done so in the October poll.

“Despite supporting the appointment of the emergency manager, New Jerseyans remain skeptical about Atlantic City’s future,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “This is one recent decision by Gov. Christie that has a solid majority of residents behind it.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 813 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 3-10, 2015, with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points. Interviews were done in both English and, when requested, Spanish.

Interest highest among those with Atlantic City connections

While Atlantic City’s financial crisis has been widely reported in the state, residents do not appear to be paying much attention. Just 11 percent say they have heard a lot about the emergency management team put in place, 27 percent say they have heard some, 28 percent say a little, and 34 percent say nothing at all.

Attention paid seems to influence responses. New Jerseyans most familiar with the story are least likely to support Christie’s action: 56 percent agree, while 43 percent say Atlantic City should handle things on its own. Those who have heard little about the issue are most likely to agree with the state sending in an emergency management team (at 62 percent).

Shore residents are slightly more likely than others to have heard a lot (15 percent). Urbanites are the least likely to have heard anything; 47 percent say they have heard nothing at all. Visitors to the resort city within the past year are also more likely to be paying attention compared to those who have not.

Broad support for Christie order

Christie’s executive order temporarily implementing an emergency manager in Atlantic City receives high support across most demographic groups, even those who otherwise are negative about the governor. The decision cuts across political partisanship: 61 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans agree with Christie’s course of action.

Millennials – residents under 30 – tend to be stronger supporters than those 65 or older, 67 percent to 53 percent. Similarly, residents with household incomes under $100,000 are stronger backers than wealthier respondents, 63 percent to 52 percent.

Support for Christie’s action does not raise a significant gender gap. Fifty-five percent of men and 60 percent of women favor the move. Also, while still majorities, fewer suburbanites (51 percent) and exurbanites (54 percent) support the appointment of an emergency management team. More than 60 percent of New Jerseyans from all other regions approve of the action.

Those who are more optimistic about Atlantic City’s future are more likely to support the state stepping in to help. Three-quarters of those who believe the resort town’s best days are yet to come support the state’s decision to help compared to about half of those who think the city’s best days are behind it. Both Christie supporters and detractors approve the action, at 60 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Recent Atlantic City visitors are also more likely to support the emergency management team than those who have not visited within a year, 68 percent to 51 percent.

“Two schools of thought seem to be developing about Atlantic City,” said Redlawsk. “Those who have recently visited and those who see a brighter future want to see the state help make things better. But those who already have written off the city are much less likely to see state action as worthwhile.”
Atlantic City’s future looks dim to most

With few exceptions, New Jerseyans across the board believe Atlantic City’s best days are behind it. Those who have heard little or nothing about the emergency management team hired to help fix Atlantic City’s financial crisis look slightly more favorably upon the destination’s future. But residents who are better informed of the move see the city’s best days in the past (at 69 percent).

By a 33 percent to 13 percent margin, supporters of Christie’s decision are more likely than detractors to see a brighter future for the resort. A majority from both groups still sees the town’s best days mostly in the past. Even recent visitors share similarly bleak opinions with their counterparts; 29 percent say bright days are ahead, compared to 22 percent of those who have not visited in the last year.

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A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … Red vs. Blue on the Red, Black, and Green: Partisans Land on Different Ends of the Table When it Comes to Atlantic City

By Robert Cartmell

Robert Cartmell is a Data Visualization Intern with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and a junior at Rutgers University.

We would never bet that Atlantic City habits and behaviors would differ by partisanship, but apparently it’s “winner winner, partisan dinner” in the resort town. In the most recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll this past October, New Jerseyans were asked a variety of questions about the gambling center of New Jersey. Though questions were not inherently political, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, answered somewhat differently – and these differences, while not necessarily large, were statistically significant.

When it comes to visiting Atlantic City, ever or in the past twelve months, more Democrats and Independents have frequented the city than Republicans – though the partisan differences in more recent visits is statistically insignificant. Ninety-four percent of Democrats and 92 percent of Independents visited Atlantic City at some point, versus 87 percent of Republicans. A somewhat similar pattern emerges among those who plan to visit in the near future: half of Democrats and Independents say they will probably or definitely go to the resort town in the next twelve months, while four in ten Republicans say the same.

But while Republicans seem less likely to visit Atlantic City, those who do visit are more likely to gamble than other partisans. 54 percent say they gamble on most of or some of their visits, while only 49 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Independents say the same.

Casino preference also differs among partisans. The Borgata is most popular among Republicans, arguably the most luxurious of the casinos in Atlantic City and the number one pick among New Jerseyans overall. Tropicana, the boardwalk casino with a booming Havana nightlife, is the number one pick for Independents. Democrats chose the Trump Taj Mahal, one of the three on the boardwalk affiliated with – coincidentally enough – perennially rumored Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump.

Whether these differences by partisanship are truly due to party identification or whether there are other underlying factors beneath this – like age, race, and socioeconomic status – we do not know for sure from this analysis alone; most likely, though, it’s the latter or at least a combination to some extent. But in a world where everything is becoming increasingly partisan, it is interesting to see that even a getaway to Atlantic City can be divided by political party affiliation!

Results are from a statewide poll of 842 New Jersey residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2014. This release reports on a subsample of 734 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

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A BONUS Release on Atlantic City – What Do Visitors Do?

Today we are wrapping up our most recent poll with a bonus release looking at the last of our Atlantic City questions. We already covered how New Jerseyans feel about AC and its prospects, and about their perceptions of gambling. Today we look at what visitors do besides gamble, as well as for those who do gamble, which casino do they go to most often. The results are both interesting and not terribly surprising – the AC Boardwalk is most often named as an attraction, but so are many other things. And there are interesting differences by age and other demographics.

A shout out goes here to the great team of interns (and staff) we have for the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. A group of our interns worked diligently under the direction of Poll Manager Ashley Koning to code the open ended responses to the question of what people do when they Do AC. We could not do what we do without them.

The full text of the release follows. Click here for a PDF with text, questions, and tables.

 ATLANTIC CITY: VISITORS SAY IT’S NOT JUST FOR GAMBLERS

Boardwalk, dining, and entertainment top activities at ‘America’s Favorite Playground’

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – It may take a crystal ball to see the future of Atlantic City’s casino industry, but New Jerseyans who have visited the resort town say gambling is only a small part of the fun there, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. While nearly half of visitors gamble at least occasionally, a majority says they stay away from the casino floor entirely, taking advantage of other activities in the shore community. A third of visitors report they are equally or more likely to engage in non-gambling activities as they are to visit the casinos.

Spending time on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk is named most often as a non-gaming activity, followed by dining out. Attending some type of show, concert, or other form of entertainment, as well as shopping and the beach, are among other popular things visitors do there.

“Most New Jerseyans take a dim view of Atlantic City’s gaming future and think the city has failed to become a major resort destination,” said Ashley Koning, manager of Rutgers-Eagleton Poll at the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “Yet visitors are more likely to focus on non-gambling activities than they are to roll the dice. This disconnect may be making it difficult for Atlantic City to effectively promote its wide range of activities that don’t require setting foot on a gaming floor.”

Almost all New Jersey adults have been to Atlantic City at some point in their lives. Forty-three percent say they have visited within the last year, and over a third plan a visit in the coming year.

Visitors name Borgata the top casino, with just over one in ten saying they spend the most time there, followed closely by Tropicana and the Trump Taj Mahal. Among those planning a visit in the next year, Borgata’s lead is even greater: 17 percent spend the most time there, while 14 percent name Tropicana and 12 percent focus on the Taj Mahal. Koning noted that the question did not focus specifically on gambling, so responses would likely include visits to restaurants and shows as well.

Results are from a statewide poll of 842 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Not everyone gambles; lower priority for many who do

More than half of those who have ever visited Atlantic City say they do not gamble there. Among those who do, casino games do not take up most of their time. Seventy-eight percent of occasional gamblers spend more time on other activities; 34 percent of frequent gamblers say the same.

The likelihood of gambling does not differ by gender, but does by race: whites are 12 points more likely than non-whites to say they gamble some or most of the time, and more than twice as likely to spend more time on gambling than non-gambling activities.

Millennial visitors are least likely to say they gamble: more than six in ten spend all of their time on non-gambling activities. About a quarter do some gambling but spend more time on other activities. Only 7 percent of Millennials spend more time gambling than visiting outside of the casinos. Despite the grey-haired gambler stereotype, 55 percent of visitors age 50 and over say they do not gamble at all.

Gambling is more frequent among the more affluent. Those living in households with incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 are the most likely to say they gamble on at least some visits – more than half do so – but only 10 percent actually dedicate most of their trip it, as opposed to other activities. Those making more than $150,000 are the most frequent gamblers, with over a quarter saying they gamble on most visits; 20 percent says they spend more time gambling than on other things.

 

Non-gambling activities named by Atlantic City visitors     ACVisitors

©Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, October 2014

 

Visitors name wide range of non-gambling activities

As Atlantic City campaigns tirelessly to promote non-gambling activities, many visitors already look beyond the casinos for things to do. Spending time on the Boardwalk – the first in the United States when it opened in 1870 – tops the mentions of main activities, at 35 percent. Dining out is named by 30 percent, while 25 percent mention entertainment like a show, concert, or movie. One in five spends time shopping at places such as the Outlets, while a similar number focuses on the city’s free beach.

Visitors also mention – though to a much lesser degree – nightlife activities like clubbing or dancing, walking around seeing the sights, and visiting for a professional meeting. Just a few mention visiting for some type of wellness treatment or relaxation or for a sporting event. “It seems like many visitors are ‘doing AC’ the way promotional campaigns have hoped, and visitors’ responses highlight the array of activities the city offers beyond gambling,” said Koning. “But there is some distance to go to build bigger and consistently loyal crowds.”

Affinity for the Boardwalk increases with age: 24 percent of Millennials name it as a main activity, compared to 42 percent of seniors 65 and older. Rather than the boardwalk, the top activities for Millennials are the beach and shopping. Visitors aged 30-49 are most likely to name dining out, at 36 percent. Those under 50 are much more likely to say something about Atlantic City’s nightlife: one in six talks about going out, compared to almost no visitors 50 or older. Older visitors are most likely to mention the boardwalk and more likely than younger visitors to mention viewing some type of show.

Older, more affluent, and close by are most frequent visitors

While nine in ten New Jerseyans have visited Atlantic City at one point or another, younger residents (79 percent) and those in households making under $50,000 per year (87 percent) are less likely to report having been there. Those living in urban or exurban counties are also less likely to have ever visited Atlantic City, compared to those closer to the resort town.

Just over four in ten New Jersey residents have been to Atlantic City within the past year. Age has the reverse effect among this group: younger New Jerseyans are much more likely to have visited in the past year compared to older New Jerseyans. Poll manager Koning suggested that older residents may see less of a need to come back as the lure of gambling declines. “Given that Millennials are least likely to gamble, they may instead see growing nightlife and getaway opportunities awaiting them in Atlantic City beyond the casino floors,” she added.

Income matters: about half of those in households making $100,000 or more have gone to Atlantic City recently, versus just 36 percent of those making under $50,000. Garden Staters living in closer proximity to the resort city are more likely to have visited within the past twelve months.

Planned visits over the next 12 months are down: just 35 percent say they will visit soon, eight points fewer than said they visited in the past year. The decline cuts across all groups. While Millennials still dominate as future visitors, the 44 percent who say they will visit is 11 points lower than visited in the past year. Just 23 percent of seniors say they plan a visit in the near future.

In a worrisome result, those closest to Atlantic City show the largest drop in likely visits: while 56 percent of Shore county residents visited last year, 43 percent say they have a visit planned. Results are similar in South Jersey: 45 percent plan to visit, versus the 60 percent who visited in the last year.

Borgata is #1, but not for everyone

The luxurious Las Vegas-esque casino, Borgata, reigns as the number one spot for Atlantic City visitors, with 11 percent identifying it as the casino hotel in which they spend most of their time, relatively similar to the 9 percent naming Tropicana and 8 percent saying Trump Taj Mahal. The Caesar’s Entertainment casinos – Caesar’s, Bally’s, Harrah’s, and the recently closed Showboat – are each named by 4 to 5 percent. The shuttered Trump Plaza was named by 3 percent, and the massive failure that was Revel got just 2 percent. All others get 2 percent or less, and 38 percent of visitors say they never go to any casino at all while in Atlantic City.

Casino preferences vary by age. Among millennials, almost one in five say Tropicana is number one for them, perhaps because of the bustling nightlife and entertainment choices against the lively Havana-themed backdrop. Borgata is most popular among the 30-49 crowd, at 14 percent – also the age group who frequents casinos the most.

The Borgata not only has a richer feel to it, but also has a richer clientele. One in five visitors in households making $100,000 or more prefer Borgata; while this is the top choice among those making $50,000 to less than $100,000, it is in a virtual tie with Tropicana. Visitors in the lowest income bracket are more than twice as likely to prefer boardwalk casinos Tropicana and the Taj Mahal to Borgata.

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More on Atlantic City – a future not bright enough to need shades?

Today we release a second report on our polling focused on Atlantic City and gambling. (See the first one here.) In today’s release we look at perceptions of the city’s future, both by New Jersey residents and by those who visit Atlantic City. We also look at visitors who say they gamble when there (about 50% of all visitors.) The upshot is simple: lots of pessimism over the city’s future and a strong sense that gambling has not benefited the residents of the Island resort town. We find that more people say they visited Atlantic City in the last 12 months than say they plan to do so in the coming year. If this pans out, it does not bode well. Visitors are slightly more positive than non-visitors, but even they do not foresee a bright future.

Text of the release follows. Click here for a PDF of the release, with questions and tables.

ATLANTIC CITY’S BEST DAYS ARE PAST; OUT-OF-STATE CASINOS DRAW SOME NEW JERSEY GAMBLERS

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – With shrinking profits, casino closings, and layoffs the new norm, nearly two-thirds of New Jerseyans say Atlantic City’s best days are behind it, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Just 22 percent say the resort’s best days are yet to come, and 15 percent are unsure.

That gambling has not benefited the entire city and its residents seems in part to be driving this sentiment. An overwhelming 63 percent of New Jerseyans say gambling has benefited only the casino-hotels while 25 percent believe gambling has been good for both residents and the casinos. This perspective is not new. Even in the early boom years of casinos, a 1982 Eagleton Poll found just 30 percent of respondents thought gambling had benefited both parties. Similar results were found in 1986 and 1999 polls.

Despite Atlantic City’s aspirations to be known for more than casinos, New Jerseyans widely see gambling as its defining feature. While 25 percent view the city as a major convention and resort destination for all types of visitors, 63 percent believe it is only known for gambling. This is markedly down from 1982 when nearly half the state thought Atlantic City was becoming a major resort, and even 1999, when the number had dropped to 34 percent.

“The early days of gambling prompted some optimism that the industry would make Atlantic City a major resort destination,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers. “But New Jerseyans were always somewhat cynical about the prospects, as our early polling shows. That most now think the city’s best days are in the past reflects the recognition of serious problems there.”

As hope wanes for Atlantic City’s future, Garden State gamblers may be developing split loyalties. Nearly half who gamble on most trips to Atlantic City report visiting a casino outside New Jersey in the past year. For less frequent gamblers, the lure is not quite as great: 33 percent say they have gone out of state to gamble. Most (68 percent) of Atlantic City gamblers still prefer to gamble there, but 28 percent are now more likely to gamble elsewhere as bordering states continue to build casinos.

Results are from a statewide poll of 842 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Though still popular, resort’s future isn’t bright  

Despite concerns for its future, 91 percent of New Jerseyans have visited Atlantic City at least once, 43 percent within the past year. Thirty-five percent say they plan a trip within the coming 12 months. While still quite dubious about the city’s future, recent visitors are more positive than other New Jerseyans, 28 percent to 17 percent. Likewise, 29 percent expecting a future trip to the resort are positive compared to the 14 percent with no plans to visit. Those who have not visited recently are not necessarily more negative, but instead are more likely to offer no opinion. But those not planning a future visit are far more negative: 71 percent think the best days are in the past compared to 58 percent looking toward another visit.

Twenty-eight percent of frequent gamblers think the city’s best days are ahead, but only 23 percent of occasional gamblers feel the same.

“While visitors are more positive about the future of Atlantic City than those who don’t go, most are still sure the city’s best days are in the past,” said Redlawsk. “An even bigger concern may be the drop in the percentage who visited last year compared to those planning a visit in the next 12 months. If this represents a trend, the future will almost certainly not be better for Atlantic City.”

Some gamblers turn elsewhere

The poll finds some truth in the theory that the rise of casinos in neighboring states has contributed to the closure of four Atlantic City casinos and put a fifth in possible jeopardy. About half the resort’s tourists gamble during at least some of their visits just over a quarter of those gamblers say they are now more likely to go out of state than to keep coming to the shore.

Gamblers who visited Atlantic City during the past year are more loyal than those who did not, by a 72 percent to 62 percent margin. Loyalty is even stronger among gamblers with plans to visit within a year: 78 percent say they will remain loyal to Atlantic City, compared to 49 percent   with no immediate plans to return.

“No doubt Atlantic City’s casino industry is in trouble, and our results suggest that the problem is long-term,” Redlawsk noted. “The rise of alternatives may be appealing to a growing number of New Jersey gamblers. The key seems to be finding a way to make sure gamblers return. Once out of the habit, the evidence is that they will continue to look elsewhere.”

Casinos, not residents, have benefited

While casinos may be struggling, New Jerseyans believe by more than 2-to-1 that the industry, rather than the people of Atlantic City, has benefited from gambling. There has been little change over time on this question, and few differences among key demographic groups.

Visitor status does not change views, and even those who gamble the most are no more likely to think gambling has benefited Atlantic City residents more than other New Jerseyans.

However, there is a much greater belief that gambling has helped the city as a whole among those who consider Atlantic City a major resort destination with features beyond gambling. Nearly 40 percent of these Garden Staters see shared benefits to the gaming industry, compared to 21 percent of those who view the city primarily as a gambling destination.

Few see Atlantic City as a major resort

Relatively few New Jerseyans see Atlantic City as a major convention and resort city for all types of visitors. Evenly divided near the dawn of casino gambling in 1982, Garden Staters have become increasingly more likely to perceive Atlantic City as mostly for and about gambling, rather than as a resort for all.

Women are nine points more likely than men to say Atlantic City has become a major resort, although most still say it is mainly about gambling. Senior citizens are most likely to see it as an all-around resort, at 32 percent, compared to 18 percent of residents ages 50-64, and just over a quarter of younger New Jerseyans. Those in households making under $50,000 are somewhat more likely than others income groups to see Atlantic City as a major resort destination, at 31 percent.

Visiting the city does seem to affect perceptions: Around one-third of recent visitors or those who plan to visit within 12 months say the resort is a major destination for all. Only about 20 percent of others agree. Thirty-three percent of Atlantic City gamblers say the city offers more than just gambling; 20 percent of non-gamblers think likewise.

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Gambling and Atlantic City; New Results

Today we release the first of two assessments of gambling and Atlantic City from our most recent polling. The focus today is primarily on proposals that some say will improve things for the gamble resort; in particular sports and online betting. New Jerseyans are not so sure these really will help – most do not see them as being good for Atlantic City. And while more residents (compared to a 1999 poll) think casinos should be allowed elsewhere in the state, an increased number does not think gambling has been good for the state overall.

The full text of the release follows. Click here for a PDF of the release with text, questions, and tables.

 SPORTS, ONLINE BETTING: NEW JERSEYANS AREN’T ‘ALL IN’

Almost two-thirds say ‘no dice’ to alcohol on the boardwalk

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Although Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation to allow sports betting at racetracks and casinos to try to help revitalize a flagging Atlantic City, many New Jersey residents are not sure the idea is a good bet for the resort town. While 44 percent of New Jerseyans sees sports betting as a plus for Atlantic City, 48 percent is less positive about its value: 31 percent says it will make no difference and 17 percent views sports betting as bad for the struggling resort city, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

New Jerseyans are even more negative when it comes to online gambling. More than half (55 percent) thinks online gambling is bad for Atlantic City, compared with just 5 percent saying it is a good thing. Twenty-three percent says it makes no difference, and 17 percent is not sure.

Residents split their hands when it comes to permitting casinos in other parts of New Jersey, something state legislators have been discussing. Nearly half of Garden Staters agree with the idea, but 43 percent says casinos should just be limited to Atlantic City. Other residents are mostly unsure, but 3 percent offers that gambling should not be legal anywhere in the state. Support is up 12 points from a similar question asked in 1999, when 35 percent favored a statewide casino industry.

Even as support has climbed for statewide expansion, New Jerseyans still question the benefits of gambling. In 1999, 72 percent saw gambling as good for the state, but today only 33 percent agrees. Thirteen percent says it has been bad and 46 percent says it has made no difference.

Sixty-two percent also does not want to gamble on making Atlantic City more like Las Vegas by allowing alcoholic drinks to be carried and consumed outside of casinos. Just over a third say they would support such a measure, which some have suggested would help.

“In the face of Atlantic City’s troubles, most New Jerseyans no longer think gambling is particularly good for the state,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers. “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.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 842 residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

An inside look at support for sports betting

The poll shows a clear partisan split in belief about the benefits of sports betting for Atlantic City. Half of Republicans and independents says it will be a good thing, while about a quarter of both groups thinks it will make no difference. But among Democrats, 40 percent thinks sports betting will make no difference to Atlantics City, compared to the 35 percent who says sports betting will help. About one in six of all partisan groups see sports betting as bad for the resort city.

“Sports betting has become somewhat of a partisan issue in the months of back and forth between the governor, the Legislature, and the courts,” said Redlawsk. “Given Christie’s most recent championing of the idea, the split between Republicans and Democrats is not too surprising, since Democrats are no longer Christie fans.”

Where New Jerseyans live affects levels of support. Fifty-six percent of residents of shore counties says sports betting will be good for Atlantic City; but just 40 percent of other residents agrees. Optimism towards sports betting also drops among seniors compared to younger respondents and those in lower income brackets compared to wealthier New Jerseyans.

The more frequently Atlantic City visitors gamble, the more they perceive sports betting as valuable: 62 percent who gamble on most visits sees the value in sports betting, 54 percent of those who gamble on some visits agrees. Only 41 percent of non-gamblers in Atlantic City feels the same.

Online gambling seen as bad for Atlantic City

Despite the barrage of commercials touting new online gambling options, there is wide disbelief that online gambling helps Atlantic City, as supporters have argued. Even among those who gamble during most of their resort visits, only 8 percent says online gambling has been good for the city. Fifty-nine percent of these frequent gamblers thinks it has been bad, and 20 percent says it makes no difference.

Unlike sports betting, there is partisan agreement that online gambling is not good for Atlantic City. Lower income residents are less likely than wealthier ones to think online gambling is bad for Atlantic City, 48 percent to 63 percent for those at the top of the income scale.

Expanding casinos elsewhere

Proposals to expand casino gambling beyond Atlantic City are not new, but New Jerseyans are much more supportive than they were in 1999, when 35 percent agreed while 54 percent wanted casinos limited to the resort.

Republicans, at 54 percent, and independents at 50 percent, are both more likely than Democrats (39 percent) to support the idea of casino expansion. More than six in 10 millennials favors the idea, but only 35 percent of seniors over 65 years old agree. A clear majority (57 percent) of residents in households earning below $50,000 a year likes expansion. Fifty-one percent of both suburban and urban residents – those perhaps most likely to benefit from the proposal – say yes to additional casinos in the state compared to about 43 percent of residents elsewhere.

Keep the boardwalk dry

State Senate Republican leader Tom Kean Jr. recently suggested allowing alcoholic beverages to be carried outside Atlantic City casinos, but New Jersey residents nix this idea almost 2 to 1. In true partisan fashion, Republicans (40 percent) are more likely to support the proposal than are Democrats (30 percent); 37 percent of independents agrees. Men are stronger supporters, 42 percent to 30 percent, and millennials, at 48 percent, are the top supporters by age.

Visitors to Atlantic City in the past year are stronger proponents of alcohol on the boardwalk than non-visitors, 39 percent to 32 percent. Among those planning to visit in the next year, 44 percent favors allowing alcohol outside. There is no difference between visitors who gamble and those who do not.

Support for casino gambling slips

Despite New Jerseyans’ increased support for casino expansion beyond Atlantic City since the 1999 poll, they are less positive about the benefits of gambling. The share saying gambling is good for the state has plummeted by 39 points to 33 percent. The key difference: almost half (46 percent) thinks gambling has made no difference to New Jersey, compared to 7 percent in 1999.

Republicans (40 percent) are more likely to say casino gambling has been good for the state compared to independents (33 percent) and Democrats (31 percent). Men are six points more likely to say the same than women. Only 21 percent of millennials agree, compared to 33 percent to 41 percent of other age groups. Those in the lowest income bracket (at 24 percent) are 11 to 20 points less likely than those with higher household incomes to say casino gambling is good for New Jersey.

Regionally, casino gambling receives its greatest support from those closest to Atlantic City: 48 percent of shore residents. More than half of frequent visitors who gamble agree, compared to 39 percent of occasional gamblers and just 20 percent visitors who do not gamble at all.

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