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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)