Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update: FDU Study, Brown vs. California

In my last post, I mentioned that I asked the folks at the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll if they’d run an additional “crosstab” for me in the hopes of uncovering information about those who favor online gambling.  I said:
The one thing I’d like to see that wasn’t included in the study’s results was a crosstab of awareness with being in favor or opposing the issue of online gambling.  My guess is that more awareness of the issue is a negative (for us) as it means individuals are more likely to be against the idea.   

Before the results, a word of thanks to Krista Jenkins of FDU for running the crosstab, and a word of apology regarding the title of my last post in question.  Before releasing the information, Krista asked, When I send will you consider not calling us dicks?”  Even though I used the “D” word I wasn’t calling anyone a dick (except Sheldon Adelson, of course), and for the record, the folks at FDU are the “Knights.” 

My purpose was to draw attention the fact that FDU refers to the results of the study using the VICE word (as in “US Voters pick a vice”). While the term was not used while obtaining respondents’ opinions (I would have gone ballistic then), it is used in the results, and the word VICE has many negative, biased connotations.  It should be noted that one person’s vice may be another’s profession (and I refer to poker, not that other thing).  Perhaps a better choice of words can be used for everyone next time? 

Now, on to the results.

As I mentioned, Krista ran a cross tab of the results of these two questions:
Do you favor or oppose allowing casinos to run online gambling for people in their states? (the horizontal)
There has been movement by some states to make it legal for casinos to provide on-line, or internet, gambling for its residents. Have much have you heard or read about this? (the vertical)
Here’s the table (edited a bit for clarity):

A lot
Just a little
Nothing at all
Don’t Know

The results may not be statistically significant (I don’t have the raw data to run tests) and no doubt there might be other, better explanations of the results.  In my last post I noted that age was a strong determinant in favoring online gambling (youngsters = YAY! Oldsters = No!) but those aged 18-29 were also the ones LEAST LIKELY to have heard much about the issue.  In reading the results above, we see a SLIGHT uptick for being in favor of legalizing online gambling for those who have heard more about the issue.  This is a GOOD thing.

I mentioned before that education is the key.  In order for online poker to be a reality, we have to overcome lingering stereotypes about gambling (it’s a VICE) AND Adelson’s money and all of the babble his minions put out.  Which brings me to the latest developments in California.

Willie Brown’s defection* from “I’m a lobbyist for Native American tribes interested in online gambling” to “I am one of Sheldon’s minions” is the clearest example yet of how money talks.  It seems Brown has 175,000 reasons to change his views, though he only spoke of one, vaguely:  “I have since learned about some of the tactics used by online gambling companies to lure young people.”  But he never articulates what those tactics are.  And with good reason.

This is where our educational efforts need to hit hardest.  Adelson and his coalition and the various purchased-politicians and past-pollys make grandiose statements about money laundering and underage gambling and the like, but rarely do they explain HOW this is all supposed to occur**.  Because they haven’t the foggiest.  Remember the Coalition’s “Don’t Bet on it” ad?  The kid obtains his Dad’s online login information.  THAT’S how he gambles - THAT’S the problem, not the online gaming.  Does Adelson and his group expect to close down every type of business where problems might occur if a family member steals some other family member’s online account?  You’d have to close down the entire frickin’ Internet.

And with word that California tribes are moving ever closer to making online poker a reality, we can see that education works.  Last month’s hearings were powerful in that positive messages on online poker’s appeal (regulation, consumer safety, etc.) were well received, and the prattle of Adelson’s henchman Andy Abboud denounced.

Call them out.  Make them explain.  Move past the buzzwords and the cliché’s and the stereotypes and the scary words and the fear.  Articulate reality.  Make them do the same.  If we do, they lose.

* Willie Brown’s defection - doesn’t that make a great name for a band?  “Tonight on stage, The Rhythm Kings, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Willie Brown’s Defection - doors open at 8pm.”

** James Thackston’s nonsense has been a case where they tried to make the case and failed, big time.  Best takedowns are here and here.

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