Poll: Iowa Caucus-Goers Prefer Presidential Candidates Who Support Casinos

Press Release
June 22, 2015

Council Bluffs, IA – A new poll released today finds that likely Iowa caucus-goers are more likely to support a candidate who recognizes that casinos create jobs, generate valuable tax revenue and serve as an important role in economic development (47%-36%). 

Eighteen commercial casinos in Iowa support nearly 17,000 jobs, spur $2.5 billion in economic activity and generate nearly $740 million in tax revenues.

NEW POLL: Read the polling memo on Iowa voters and casinos.

“Presidential candidates who want to win in Iowa will benefit from supporting casino gaming – an industry embraced by Iowans across the political spectrum,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “As we approach caucus and primary season, AGA will include candidates’ views of gaming in our first-ever voter guide and mobilize employees to support candidates who support casino gaming.”

Among the other key findings from the poll of likely caucus attendees:

  • A majority (53.3%) of very conservative voters and nearly two-thirds (65.4%) ofconservative voters say casinos have helped economic development and job creation.
  • A majority (61.1%) very liberal voters and nearly three-quarters (72.4%) of liberal voters say casinos have helped economic development and job creation.
  • By a 2-1 margin, Iowa caucus goers said that gaming had a positive effect on Iowa.

To show why Iowans overwhelmingly support gaming and how the industry has benefitted communities across the state, the AGA and the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) convened a roundtable this afternoon at Ameristar Council Bluffs with Congressman David Young (IA-3);Kelley Kulesa, marketing and player development manager at Ameristar Council Bluffs; Ron Tekippe, president of HGM Associates Inc., a local small business; and Bob Mundt, president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce.

“Ameristar has encouraged me to apply for new positions and move up throughout my nearly 15 years here, and because of that they have helped my husband and me pay for our daughter’s college tuition,” said Kulesa. “I never thought working at Ameristar would turn into a career, and it did. I love and look forward to coming to work every day.”

The event offered a snapshot of how casino gaming boosts small businesses, provides fulfilling careers and opportunities for advancement, and produces a positive ripple effect for the local economy.

“As the political spotlight is on Iowa in the months ahead, it’s events like the one here today that will highlight the gaming industry, while informing our employees of which candidates believe that casino gaming is part of a broader economic plan,” said Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the IGA. “As dozens of candidates crisscross the state, its important they know they role gaming plays in communities across Iowa.”

Earlier this year in Las Vegas, the AGA launched a national initiative, “Gaming Votes,” to ensure presidential candidates understand gaming’s vital role in providing middle class jobs and driving economic growth.  Casino gaming supports more than half-a-million jobs and contributes $75 billion to local communities in the key presidential states of Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, among others.

About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.


press release contact
Christopher Browne