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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Let the people decide the future of casinos in Florida.

A new poll released late Sunday by CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald showed 81-percent of Florida voters surveyed last week said they believe any proposed changes to state gambling laws should be decided in a statewide referendum and not by lawmakers in Tallahassee. Only 8 percent were against it.

The poll surveyed 800 registered Florida voters and had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Just last week, Bendixen and Amandi International conducted the poll for CBS4 News, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Univision 23 which showed voters were about evenly split over the question of whether the state should expand gambling to permit Las Vegas-style casinos.

Forty-four percent said they support it, 46-percent oppose it, and 10-percent were undecided.

The survey of 400 voters had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

Among those who support Las Vegas style casino gambling, an overwhelming majority, 55 percent said they do because they believe it will help create jobs

While those opposed cite the effects it will have on the community, an increase in crime and a general opposition to gambling as the reason.

Florida lawmakers are considering legislation to allow for the development of three $2 billion mega resorts and convention centers that would include full casino games. The proposal also attempts to streamline the state’s gambling regulations by creating a Gaming Control Board and imposing new restrictions on operators and limits future gambling permits.

As with previous gambling questions, support is strongest in the Southeastern corner of the state, where 52 percent of voters surveyed support casino gambling. But in every other region, opponents outnumber supporters by a margin of seven to 10 percent.

Among racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic voters support casinos, 57-34 percent, black voters are evenly divided, with 41-40 percent; white voters oppose it 47-39 percent.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. John Balzer says:

    There is not much news here as a provision in the new bill already stipulates that voters get to decide. It is not statewide, but regional. That is fair. The “dead heat” approval rating has also been about the same as before. The greedy special interest groups that oppose the bill are hoping they can quash it by spending enormous amounts of money on negative advertising like the banner ads they bought in the Herald’s blog site. Let the people vote and they will pick to reform gambling. It’s the economically sound thing to do.

    1. natalie ricardo says:

      Good points! For those that follow such things, it is notable that Nevada just ruled that the casinos must pay tax on any and all complementary drinks and food they provide their loyal customers. This amounts to millions. I don’t think local businesses have to worry about the new resort stealing any of their action. Just the opposite. The increased tourist flow will overflow into local establishments just as seasonal travelers to Miami currently bolster sales locally.

  2. Pablo Caballero says:

    I know that the destination resort project will be good for Miami. It will create many good jobs both in the construction phase and after it is built. That’s when I want to get a job there in one of the fine restaurants. Why have the people not overwhelmingly embrassed this project?

  3. Daniel Davis says:

    Why vote on something that’s already legal here? Just revise it and bring in jobs. Thats what we really need!

  4. Robert Walker says:

    Duh, the language of the bill provides for communities to vote for or against approval, so this so-called poll is just a smoke screen to add controversy and raise fear. What is so bad about upgrading the community at the expense of a private firm for a change, not off the backs of us tax-payers? Sure, there’s a casino in the complex. We already have casinos. How about the modern convention center (we need one badly) the upscale hotel (we need more in that area) the multitude of restaurants (we really need that around there, it’s been dying) and on top of that, tons of jobs and cash into our local economy? Can any of the people against this bill actually respond with a credible answer?

  5. James Watson says:

    Letting the voters decide is fine. When they learn the truth on what they are being offered vs. the deceptive fear mongering campaign coming from Disney, they will make the right choice. Who won’t vote for progress vs. stagnation? I’m ready to go into the new resort and have a nice steak.

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