By a nearly 4-to-1 margin, voters surveyed by the Quinnipiac University poll say they don’t want more casinos in Connecticut.
Seventy-five percent of the 1,235 voters surveyed say there should not be more casinos in Connecticut. When asked specifically about whether the two tribal casinos should be allowed to operate smaller venues near the New York and Massachusetts border, 59 percent of voters opposed the idea.
“Voters think gambling in Connecticut is good for the state, but they don’t want more casinos,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said. “Three-quarters oppose more casinos in general and nearly 60 percent oppose specific legislation to allow two Native-American tribes to open new smaller casinos.”
On Tuesday, lawmakers announced plans to move forward with legislation that would allow for the tribes to open up to three new casinos. The proposal was pitched as a way to save jobs.
Senate President Martin Looney said Monday that the state’s casinos “are still a significant revenue source,” and that competition from New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts has forced the state to expand its gaming.
“This is a way to try to defend what we have,” he said.
Connecticut’s casinos are profitable, Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown said, though largely through shifts in the organizational business model, and “what that really means is a reduction in jobs,” he said.
A public hearing on the casino proposal will be held next Tuesday, March 17.
The poll released Wednesday also found 63 percent of voters support legalizing marijuana. There’s one bill this year proposed by Reps. Edwin Vargas, D-Hartford, and Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, that would legalize marijuana.
Connecticut has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and has a medical marijuana program so legalization seems like the next logical step, according to the two lawmakers.
Legalization is “going to happen sooner or later no matter what. It may not happen in this legislative session and it may not happen in the next, but I’ll tell you, within the next five or 10 years we’re going to see it in Connecticut. Let’s jump on the bandwagon now. We need it today, not five or 10 years from now. We need to close a budget deficit today,” Candelaria said last month.
The poll also found support for legislation that would allow a doctor to prescribe lethal drugs to help a terminally ill patient end his or her life. The poll found 63 percent of voters support the concept, even voters over the age of 55.
However, voters largely oppose putting tolls back on Connecticut’s highways. The poll found 61 percent of voters oppose the concept, which is being debated as a way to improve Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. But 59 percent of voters support the concept if the money is directed toward the repair of the state’s roads and bridges.
The poll surveyed 1,235 voters between March 6 and March 9. It has a 2.8 percent margin of error.