Your Insights on Casinos

The topic of casinos in Metro Vancouver/ Fraser Valley generates polarized views: Residents in municipalities with existing casinos support them (55% in favour, 32% opposed), while those without them are divided (42% support, 45% opposed)

Vancouver, BC – A recent Insights West online poll of 1,077 Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley adults found that a majority (55%) of those in municipalities with existing casinos support their presence (55% support, 16% strongly; 32% oppose, 13% strongly; the remaining 13% were unsure). The two camps of support and opposition are a little more equal, however, in communities where there is not currently a casino (42% support the possible future addition of a casino, 13% strongly versus 45% oppose, 26% strongly; 14% are unsure).

As might be expected, casino users are far more likely to support casinos than are non-users; among those who visit casinos once every few months or more, 84% support casinos in communities with existing casinos and 66% support casinos in communities that do not currently have a casino compared to just 36% and 29%, respectively, among those who do not visit casinos at all.

“After the Surrey casino debacle, there has been a lot of public debate about the level of public support for or against the construction of new casinos. Our poll shows that generally speaking, the public is in favour of casinos — just not new ones,” comments Steve Mossop, Insights West President.

While this poll shows that widespread concern exists over a variety of possible negative outcomes of casinos, local residents – even those in opposition to casinos overall – can definitely see the benefits that they can bring.

Of the list of benefits presented, contributions to the local tax base is mostly often perceived (84% agree, 37% strongly), followed by bringing jobs to the local community (82% agree, 25% strongly) and attracting tourists (77% agree, 23% strongly). Even among those who strongly oppose casinos overall, a majority agree with all three statements (68% agree that casinos contribute to the local tax base, 54% that casinos bring jobs to the local community, and 51% that casinos attract tourists).

The possible negative outcome that generates concern among the greatest proportion of Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley adults centres on problem gambling (72% agree, 30% strongly that casinos increase the amount of problem gambling). In contrast, just fewer than half agree that casinos are harmful to society (48% agree, 16% strongly), that they bring crime and gang activity to the communities they are in (48% agree, 15% strongly) and that they bring traffic and parking problems to those same communities (47% agree, 14% strongly).

While more of those who strongly oppose casinos in their community naturally agree with all of the negative issue statements tested compared with those who strongly support casinos, the extent to which this pattern holds true provides an interesting insight.

The biggest difference between those who strongly oppose casinos in their community and those who strongly support them is on the arguably most generic issue – casinos being harmful to society. Only 10% of supporters agree with this statement compared to 88% of those who oppose casinos (a 78-percentage point gap). In contrast, the two groups are less diametrically opposed on increases to problem gambling (39% of supporters versus 94% of those who oppose, gap of 54 percentage points), traffic and parking problems (21% supporters agree compared to 79% of those who oppose, gap of 58 percentage points) and crime and gang activity (17% of supporters versus 86% of those who oppose, gap of 69 percentage points).

“These findings suggest that the greatest barrier for support of casinos is not a simple NIMBY [not in my back yard] syndrome, but instead the broader concern about societal problems that a greater access to casino gambling can create,” adds Mossop.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis, through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary, and has seven full-time, and five part-time employees.

Results are based on an online study conducted January 30th – February 3rd, 2013, among 1,077 residents of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for BC for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778-891 4762

stevemossop@insightswest.com