By Chris Barrett
PBN Staff Writer
DARTMOUTH – Most Massachusetts residents support a proposal to establish casino gambling, driven by a belief that gaming halls will deliver tax revenue and jobs to the commonwealth.
A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth poll released Sunday says that 56 percent of residents support a proposal by Gov. Deval Patrick and leaders in the legislature that would authorize three “resort casinos” and one slot parlor through competitive bidding.
The survey of 552 residents found that 56 percent supported the proposal, 31 oppose it and 13 percent were undecided. The survey, conducted by the university’s Center for Policy Analysis, had a margin of error of 4.1 percent.
Sunday’s poll follows similar surveys that showed broad support for expanded casino gambling in the Bay State.
“No matter how you ask the question, the public’s answer is always the same and its support for expanded gaming is unwavering,” said Clyde W. Barrow, the center’s director and poll supervisor.
In the Dartmouth poll, 73 percent of respondents said more gambling would generate additional taxes for the state; 72 percent believed the facilities would bring more jobs and 63 percent said they would capture gaming revenue from players now headed out of state.
The poll comes as Rhode Island leaders are weighing whether to allow expanded gambling in the Ocean State. Voters and lawmakers have turned down previous proposals to permit a casino in West Warwick.
The poll was released as part of the New England Gaming Research Project, which is paid for entirely by the School of Education, Public Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.