AGA survey profiles U.S. gamers, one in five play poker

A survey released today by the American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed that the average American online gambler is under 40, college-educated, male, and more affluent than his fellow citizens. The 2006 State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment also reported that 18% of American adults played poker last year.

According to the poll of Internet gamblers, which was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., 70% of respondents started gambling online within the past two years. And while Internet gamblers in the U.S. say they enjoy online gambling for its convenience, 55% of those surveyed believe online gaming companies find ways to cheat, while 46 % believe their fellow players cheat.

The survey also revealed a great deal of confusion about the legality of online gambling, with a mere 19% of respondents realizing - - or willing to admit -- that the activity is currently illegal in the United States. According to the poll, a majority of Americans continue to view gambling as a question of personal choice (83%).

"Even though our member companies currently aren't involved in the online gaming market, and the overall percentage of Americans who gamble online is relatively small, there's no doubt this issue has captured the attention of the media, members of Congress and the American public," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the AGA.

"We strive to make each year's State of the States report the most comprehensive information resource not only on the current state of our industry, but the most significant emerging trends in gaming, so it was important that we take a look at this growing phenomenon."

In a special section of the annual survey devoted to poker, a national poll conducted by Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research revealed the top two reasons Americans play poker: (1) Spending time with friends and family; and (2) The skill and strategy involved in the game.

The AGA said poker revenue continued to surge in 2005. In Nevada and New Jersey, the only commercial casino states that track poker revenue, U.S. casino visitors spent more than $207 million on organized poker last year, a 37% percent increase over 2004 totals.

Editor's Note: The American Gaming Association (AGA) is the national trade association for the commercial casino industry. In addition to representing the interests of its members on federal legislative and regulatory issues, the AGA serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.

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