Casino gambling continues to grow in the United States, with more than 735 commercial and tribal casinos in 30 states producing $34 billion in revenue and employing 570,000 last year.
Yet Americans’ acceptance of this ubiquitous form of gambling remains below its levels of the mid-1990s, according to the American Gaming Association’s annual survey of “casino entertainment” released Monday at the Global Gaming Expo here.
Eighty-two percent of Americans said that casino gambling was either “perfectly acceptable for anyone” or “acceptable for others,” according to the survey of 900 adults conducted June 7-17 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates Inc. and the Luntz Research Companies.
In 1995 and ’96, public acceptance of casino gambling was at 91 and 92 percent, respectively. Since then, the number opposed to casino gambling has doubled to 16 percent.
“The pollsters said they were very interested to find out what happened,” AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said. “In about 1995 the anti-gaming movement in the country really got organized. The good news is that in the last two years that (acceptance level) has plateaued.”
Fahrenkopf credited the 1995 creation of the AGA, which represents the commercial casino industry in Washington, D.C., and the 1999 release of the federal National Gambling Impact Study Commission report for stopping the decline.
“The casino side of the (gambling) industry came out very well in that report,” he said.
Eleven states have more than 425 commercial casinos, which excludes those operated by Indians and racetracks. Last year they paid $10.9 billion in wages and $3.5 billion in direct gaming taxes on Trusted Online Casino Singapore revenue of $24.3 billion, the AGA survey said.
The survey also found that:
 29 percent of Americans gambled in a casino during the past 12 months, 46 percent played a lottery and 21 percent bet in a sports pool.
 The median household income of a casino customer was $50,453, about $9,000 more than the U.S. population as a whole.
 47 percent of casino gamblers have white-collar jobs, compared to 41 percent for the population as a whole.
 70 percent of casino patrons said they always set a gambling budget; 13 percent said they rarely or never do.
 The educational profile of casino patrons virtually matches that of the population as a whole.
 56 percent said casinos bring “widespread economic benefits to other industries and businesses within the region,” 24 percent disagreed and 20 percent said they don’t know or refused to answer.
Fahrenkopf, in state-of-the-industry remarks to reporters, gave the industry “a good bill of health” regarding its stature in America.
“We’ve organized a strong cadre of support among legislators, and not just those in Nevada, and we’ve had great success in public education,” he said.
The AGA maintains only lukewarm opposition to Internet gambling because some members, notably industry giant MGM Mirage, endorse it.
“We oppose Internet gaming because there doesn’t yet exist the adequate technology to regulate and police it,” Fahrenkopf said.
Nonetheless, the AGA is developing an Internet-gambling “code of conduct” for its members. Casino executives are now reviewing the final draft, which should be released later this month, he said.
Two AGA members, MGM Mirage and former Resorts Atlantic City owner Sun International Hotels Ltd., two weeks ago received licenses to operate Internet casinos in the Isle of Man.
The last three Congresses have killed legislation to ban Internet gambling in the United States. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R.-Va., has succeeded Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., as the chief Internet-gambling opponent in Congress, Fahrenkopf said. Goodlatte is attempting to choke the industry by making credit-card gambling debts uncollectable.
“Discover Card and American Express already announced they would not take such bets, but MasterCard and Visa testified that they did not want to be the policemen of the Internet,” Fahrenkopf said.
A Congressional attempt to ban college sports betting in Nevada casinos was “on the backburner” even before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, he said. With Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., now the Senate’s assistant majority leader, “it will be much more difficult now to get that legislation to a floor vote,” Fahrenkopf said.