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There was good news for the casino industry in the annual poll released this week by the research arm of the American Gaming Association. Casino revenues were up 5 percent nationwide in 2005 -- with more than one-third of that total $30. 3 billion win flowing to Nevada, according to the survey. More important, in terms of long-term prospects, 83 percent of Americans now say they view gambling as a personal choice.

Nearly 80 percent report they consider gambling an acceptable activity for themselves or others, and 72 percent see casinos as a valuable part of a community's entertainment and tourism options. Only 19 percent of those surveyed said they realized the casino gambling activity is considered illegal in the United States. Maybe that helps explain why -- despite the fact that 55 percent of Internet gamblers believe online gaming companies find ways to cheat, and the fact that 46 percent believe their fellow players cheat online, AGA President Frank Fahrenkopf estimates $12 billion to $15 billion will be wagered online this year, with 60 percent of those funds -- $7 billion to $9 billion -- coming from U. S. residents.

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