The only voters to approve Tuesday's gambling referendum in the District of Columbia was residents of some of the city's pooerest communities, such as Shaw, Anacostia and the near Northeast area north of H Street.
In all, only 44 of the city's 137 precincts approved the defeated proposal that would have legalized gambling on jai alai, dog racing and a daily numbers game that many of the city's poor now play illegally in Washington or legally in Maryland.
The 44 precincts were heavily concentrated in the city's most impoverished areas of Wards 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 largely in the eastern part of the city.
"It's a matter of desperation," Bob King, director of social planning for the 14th Street Project Area Committee, said of the support of the poor for the gambling referendum. I've been talking to people who rely on the lottery to pay some bills. They go to Maryland because of the lottery.
"They may play the same number for four months and, when they finally hit, they forget about all the losses." King said. "Gamblimg is an outlet" for people who can afford few other forms of entertainment.
Another social worker, Bill Jones of the Southeast Neighborhood House, said that "poor people are prepared to take more of a chance (through gambling) to get something to better their economic standing. A poor person needs to take that chance to help subsidize his income.
"They don't see it (picking any three-digit number in the illegal or Maryland daily numbers games) as a 1,000-to-1 shot, but only a chance to see if their number is working for them, " Jones said.
The gambling measures was defeated citywide by a 50,260-to-33,607 margin, with the affluent Ward 3, the area west of Rock Creek Park, providing the bulk of the margin against the proposal.
But large portions of Ward 2, including downtown Washington and Southwest D.C.; Ward 4, the middle class community in upper Northwest, and the Capitol Hill portion of Ward 6 all resoundingly rejected the proposal.
Seven of the city's eight wards voted against the measure drafted by gambling proponents, the lone exception being Ward 8 in Far Southeast adjacent to Prince George's County line.
Wilhemina Rolark and R. Calvin Lockridge, Ward 8's representatives on the City council and School Board, respectively, both said yesterday they believe their constituents voted for legalized gambling because they didn't understand that the proposal would have legalized jai alai and dog racing as well as daily numbers and lottery games.
"The vote [in Ward 8] could have been based on misinformation and confusion," Rolark said. "In other areas, you know, people read the papers and everything. A lot of people didn't realize all this stuff [jai alai and dog racing] was in it."
Lockridge, president of the D.C. school board, said that the "lower socio-economic" population of this ward may not have been able to "understand the issue as well" as voters throughout the rest of the city.
Despite Tuesday's vote, a majority of members of the City Council said yesterday they would favor or lean toward a Council measure setting up a city-run daily numbers operation.
However, there was no indication that the council was ready to take any such action soon, with some members citing a reluctance to buck the religious element that played a prominent role in the fight against the referendum.
"The ministers would come in and scream," said Council member Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3), who favored a city lottery. "I think the majority of the council would not go against the clergy. My feeling is that there won't be another opportunity to have a lottery or gambling of any type in the foreseeable future."
Many council members said they felt the referendum was defeated primarily because of the jai alai and dog racing provisions and the proposed establishment of a semi-independent gaming control board to allocate gambling revenues. They said they felt that without these provisions a simple lottery and numbers initiative would have been approved.
"I did a pretty good survey at one precinct on election day, and I think maybe 80 percent of the people would have wanted just a lottery," said Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6), who opposed the initiative but said she would consider supporting a lottery proposal.
But despite the prolottery Council sentiment, two measures calling for a citizen's advisory referendum on a lottery have been stalled since early last year in the council's Governmental Operations Committee, headed by William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), in ardent foe of legalized gambling.
Spaulding said yesterday that he did not intend to change his antigambling position, and other council members have begun no serious effort to dislodge those measures from his committee.
Council members who supported the initiative gave large credit for Tuesday's defeat to U.S. Attorney Charles F. C. Ruff, who made an unusual last-minute statement urging that the measure be defeated, and to The Washington Post and The Washington Star, both of which printed editorials against the referendum in the final days of the campaign.
They also blamed what once progambling Council Member called "the bunny and kitten people" -- the animal welfare advocates who set up tables in front of many polling places Tuesday and displayed gruesome photographs of animals killed r maimed in training greyhounds to be racers.
"This was the only hope -- through the initiative process," Shackleton said. "I'm sorry it took the turn it did."
Brant Coppersmith, chairman of the umbrella group supporting legalized gambling, said that "all those people who wanted [the referendum] defeated and said it was a bad bill now have a responsibility to proposed a good bill. Some $100,000 in revenue is being lost daily to the Maryland lottery."
"I don't think the issue will go away," Coopersmith said. "Every time there's a financial problem, someone will say 'What about a lottery?'" Complete District returns On Gambling Referendum Referendum on Legalized Gambling (TABLE) (COLUMN)FOR(COLUMN)AGAINST Ward 1(COLUMN)3,508(COLUMN)4,575 Ward 2(COLUMN)3,142(COLUMN)5,073 Ward 3(COLUMN)2,974(COLUMN)13,419 Ward 4(COLUMN)6,725(COLUMN)8,164 Ward 5(COLUMN)5,412(COLUMN)6,415 Ward 6(COLUMN)3,990(COLUMN)5,165 Ward 7(COLUMN)5,311(COLUMN)5,541 Ward 8(COLUMN)2,545(COLUMN)1,908 Total(COLUMN)33,607(COLUMN)50,260(END TABLE) How District Democrats, Republicans Voted Democratic Presidential Primary (TABLE) Jimmy Carter(COLUMN)Edward M. Kennedy(COLUMN)Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. Ward 1(COLUMN)2,298(COLUMN)3,928(COLUMN)127(COLUMN)Ward 1 Ward 2(COLUMN)2,069(COLUMN)3,723(COLUMN)118(COLUMN)Ward 2 Ward 3(COLUMN)3,345(COLUMN)4,688(COLUMN)188(COLUMN)Ward 3 Ward 4(COLUMN)4,670(COLUMN)7,335(COLUMN)117(COLUMN)Ward 4 Ward 5(COLUMN)3,903(COLUMN)5,893(COLUMN)131(COLUMN)Ward 5 Ward 6(COLUMN)2,545(COLUMN)4,710(COLUMN)84(COLUMN)Ward 6 Ward 7(COLUMN)3,093(COLUMN)5,776(COLUMN)70(COLUMN)Ward 7 Ward 8(COLUMN)1,172(COLUMN)2,635(COLUMN)33(COLUMN)Ward 8 Total(COLUMN)23,095(COLUMN)38,688(COLUMN)868(COLUMN)Total(END TABLE) Republican Presidential Primary (TABLE) John B. Anderson(COLUMN)George Bush(COLUMN)Philip M. Crane(COLUMN)benjamin Fernandez(COLUMN)Harold Stassen 183(COLUMN)393(COLUMN)20(COLUMN)5(COLUMN)18 326(COLUMN)513(COLUMN)39(COLUMN)13(COLUMN)22 898(COLUMN)2,658(COLUMN)138(COLUMN)21(COLUMN)102 126(COLUMN)393(COLUMN)21(COLUMN)6(COLUMN)15 107(COLUMN)279(COLUMN)9(COLUMN)3(COLUMN)11 233(COLUMN)298(COLUMN)24(COLUMN)6(COLUMN)16 66(COLUMN)260(COLUMN)11(COLUMN)4(COLUMN)6 13(COLUMN)55(COLUMN)5(COLUMN)1(COLUMN)2 1,925(COLUMN)4,849(COLUMN)267(COLUMN)59(COLUMN)192(END TABLE)