Iowa State University

Beverly Crabtree, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-5980
Maurice MacDonald, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-1983
Glenn Roberts, Glenn Roberts Research, (515) 276-7002
Michelle Johnson, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- According to a statewide poll of Iowans, conducted for Iowa State University's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, a strong majority of Iowans feel there are currently enough gambling facilities in the state. The poll was taken last April, after proposals to add casinos in downtown Des Moines and Osceola had been aired, but before plans for a casino in Dallas County and for a possible sale and expansion of Prairie Meadows had been announced.

Forty-six percent of Iowans feel the current number of gambling facilities in Iowa is too high. Another 41 percent say the number is about right. Only four percent say they think the number is too low.

Even among gamblers, there is strong sentiment against increasing the number of gambling outlets in Iowa. Of the Iowans polled who identified themselves as gamblers, 37 percent said the current number of gambling facilities is too high, and 50 percent said the number is about right. Only six percent said the number is too low.

Gambling has grown rapidly in Iowa since pari-mutuel betting was approved in 1983. As of October, 1996, Iowa has a state- run lottery, nine riverboat casinos, racing combined

with slot machines at two dog tracks, racing combined with slot machines at one horse track, and three casinos on Indian reservations that offer bingo, table games and slot machines.

Non-gamblers were opposed to expanding gambling in larger numbers. Sixty-four percent said there were too many facilities now in operation.

Although nearly 70 percent of adult Iowans say they have gambled in the past year, many say they are unhappy about some services currently offered at gambling facilities. Three-fourths of those surveyed say gambling facilities should not provide automatic teller machines (ATM), cash advances on credit cards or cash paychecks on the premises. Seventy-nine percent of women and 68 percent of men disagree with the idea of these services being offered at casinos.

Iowans also strongly oppose allowing children under 18 inside a gambling facility (94 percent), oppose providing child care centers in gambling facilities for children of gamblers (86 percent), and oppose gambling facilities providing buses to transport residents of long-term care centers to gambling establishments (56 percent).

The FACS Poll is the first statewide public opinion survey on Iowans' attitudes on gambling and the family. It was conducted by Glenn Roberts Research of Des Moines. A random cross-section of 632 adult Iowans answered questions during 15- to 20-minute telephone interviews. Poll questions were developed by ISU Family and Consumer Sciences faculty members and Glenn Roberts. The poll has a maximum 4.1 percent margin of error for the full sample.


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