Community leaders perceptions on gaming; a Peter Hart poll

August 30, 2012 in Media,Project Documents

Peter D. Hart is one of the leading analysts of public opinion in the United States. Since 1971, he has been Chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates.
As an established leader in survey research, Mr. Hart, along with the late Robert Teeter, and currently with Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, have been the pollsters for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal since 1989. In the political realm, Mr. Hart has represented more than 40 U.S. senators and 30 governors, ranging from Hubert Humphrey and Lloyd Bentsen, to Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham. Additional focuses on public policy and cultural issues have included work for such clients as the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Kennedy Center. In the international realm, Hart Research has undertaken studies in South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Community Leaders’ Perceptions of Gaming

Overview and Methodology

“When commercial casinos first began to expand outside Nevada nearly 30 years ago, gaming opponents predicted that casinos would destroy communities by attracting organized and petty crime, corrupting government officials, cannibalizing local businesses, and preying on poor or addicted gamblers. Yet today, a starkly different picture emerges in communities that have adopted casino gambling. To help explore the impact that casino gaming has had on communities around the country, Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted a telephone survey among 201 local community leaders in jurisdictions with commercial casino gaming, including racetrack casinos. The sample included 108 elected officials, such as mayors, city and county council members, and state legislators, plus 93 non-elected civic leaders, such as chiefs of police, chamber of commerce leaders, and economic development officials.1 Most of these opinion leaders lived and worked in their communities before the introduction of casinos, giving them a first-hand and well- informed viewpoint on the benefits and costs associated with casino gaming.

In the broadest sense, elected officials and civic leaders are strikingly positive about the impact that casinos have had on their communities. They welcome the additional tax revenue, jobs, secondary economic development, and contributions to community and charitable organizations. At the same time, the negative effects predicted by casino opponents have largely failed to materialize. Taking everything into consideration, these public officials strongly endorse the decision to allow gaming in their communities—with the benefit of hindsight, fully 75 percent say they would vote to allow casinos if they could go back and do it all over again.”

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