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Research Chair on Gambling

Chaire de recherche sur l'étude du jeu

Research Chair on Gambling

Chaire de recherche sur l'étude du jeu


By conducting surveys with Internet gamblers and pay-to-win gamers, this global research project aims to increase understanding of these particular subsets of Internet users in each participating country; explore important issues and themes around Internet gambling; and examine the intersection of gambling and gaming.

This project initiated, designed and developed by three researchers:


For more information about joining the network, contact Dr. Sylvia Kairouz, Research Chair on Gambling, Chaire de recherche sur l'étude de jeu, Full Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
 


Context and project goals

In recent years, surveys covering online gambling in several Western countries have provided valuable insight into online gamblers and online gambling patterns.

While useful, these surveys are faced with major methodological challenges (investigating on the Internet), making choices that sometimes prevent them from comparing with other surveys and lacking statistical power to go deep into the analysis.

With the digitalization of gambling and gaming, the lines of inquiry are more likely to cross over various systems raising questions about their distinctive natures and overlaps. The impact of the translation of gambling and gaming onto the Internet might be multiple, characterized by multiple links, points of convergence, and differences at the theoretical and methodological levels. Their digitalization might also have an impact on the parameters framing the supply and demand of online gambling and digital games, their structure, and the experience of the players.


This project aims to achieve three main goals:

1) Establish or update a gambling status report for each participating country

Implementation of a national survey on gambling could provide a national status report exploring several important issues and themes:

  1. Demographic characteristics of online gamblers
  2. Gambling patterns of online gamblers
  3. Motivations for gambling on the Internet
  4. Problem gambling among online gamblers (prevalence, risk factors)
  5. Link between online gambling and online gaming, mainly PayToWin gaming
     

By using the same methodology and the same set of questions, comparisons between countries can be made regarding the landscape of online gamblers in each country. These results will be analyzed considering the different regulatory systems to derive conclusions about the effectiveness of each system.


2) To set up a much larger sample of Internet gamblers in order to explore several important issues and themes

By merging samples from participating countries, we can ensure the statistical power that is required to conduct an analysis of the subsamples and more thoroughly examine gamblers in each game form. Currently, surveys are too small to delve into precise questions such as the amount of pathological online gamers for each game form.


3) To explore an important area of overlapping between gambling and gaming

The third goal has a prospective research dimension, to analyze the experiences of gambling with real or play money and those associated with participation in the pay to win category of (social) games. The connection between gambling and pay to win games tap into the ambiguities around the meaning and value of spending as well the significance of gain, be it monetary or not.


Design & sampling

Study Design

The study purpose is to conduct a cross-national survey among a panel of Internet users. The study targets two Internet users’ subgroups: gamblers and pay-to-win gamers. A core set of questions to assess participation, patterns of play and related problems is asked of individuals belonging to these subgroups. The core set of questions is identical in each country but each country could also add additional questions depending on their online gambling or gaming landscape.

The targeted study populations are defined as following:

(online) Gambling: Concerns games for which you bet money online. Depending on the results, you can lose or win. This includes: Lottery, scratch card games, sports bets, horse racing bets, poker, casino games and slot machines. Chance is always present but is more or less important.

(online) PayToWin gaming: Characterized by the possibility to make payments during the game to significantly increase players’ chances to win or to help players better progress or faster progress in the game compared to players not paying; that is, players do not have to spend money to stay in the game, but they can pay to get privileges to increase their chances to win or advance to higher levels in the game. For example, money can be spent to obtain a strong item, advance to a higher level, or increase the power of an avatar.

Sampling

The survey aims to provide two samples in order to describe these populations:

  • Gamblers
  • Pay Gamers

The sample should be large enough to allow detection of significative differences between these groups.


Sampling method

A representative sample of gamblers and Pay-to-win gamers is not possible for two main reasons:

  • The two populations targeted by the survey constitute a small part of the overall population.
  • Random samples are very expensive.

The only feasible alternative is building a sample drawn from a panel of Internet users. According to available data, the proportion of basic study groups among Internet users is estimated as follows:

  • Gamblers among Internet users: 2  to 5 % (Quebec and France).
  • PayGamers among Internet users: probably the same.
  • Gamers among Internet users: 75%

Introducing quotas would reduce the divergence of the samples compared to a random sample. Quotas would be based on the relative shares of Internet users in each subgroup, broken down by sex and age.

To improve this methodologically, it would be useful to collect, prior to the survey, information on gaming and paygaming among the Internet users. This would allow for setting as quotas the socio-demographic characteristics of these populations or to weight the sample post on these same characteristics. A sample size of about N=1000 for each group (gamblers and paygamers) seems to be a minimum for a statistical comparative analysis. For instance, with this sample size, for a proportion of around 10% within these two groups, an OR of 1.5 would be significant. If the goal is to be able to carry out further analysis in one of the two groups, the size will have to be greater.
 

Limits and challenges of Internet users panel sampling

Sampling Internet users has significant limitations. Internet users who participate in panels are a minority of all Internet users (nearly 2%) and they are usually not representative of all Internet users. For example, it is likely that the proportion of different groups targeted by our survey is greater than the proportion of these groups across all Internet users. Our target group of Internet users are more active than the average Internet user.

Accordingly, the analysis carried out on this Internet users panel based sample:

  • does not allow us to make generalizations about the prevalence of online gambling in the sample to the entire online population;
  • allows, within certain limits (1), to compare the characteristics of two groups within the sample (e.g. gamblers vs. gamers) and (2) to analyze associations between factors within the sample.

A first short representative telephone survey focused on the prevalence and practices of online gambling may enhance the quality of the survey. This could provide an initial estimate of the prevalence among the general population of online gambling (and paygaming) participation. In addition, it could provide a representative picture of the age and sex structure of online gamblers (and paygamers) who could be compared to that of the e-GAMES survey sample, provide an indication of its deformation and thus better interpret the results specific to the population of this sample.


Participating countries

Participating countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Switzerland. Other countries have expressed interest in joining the project.

Country

National Project Managers

France

Jean-Michel Costes, ODJ, Paris

Italy

Adele Minutillo, Isituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma

Germany

Ingo Fiedler, University of Hamburg, Hamburg

Switzerland

The e-games research (quanti. and quali. components) is coordinated by the GREA: Chrisophe Al Kurdi, e-games survey manager: Hervé Kuendig, Addiction Suisse

Poland

Bernadeta Lelonek-Kuleta, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin

Canada

Sylvia Kairouz, Research Chair on the Study of Gambling, Concordia University, Montreal and Annie-Claude Savard, Laval University, Québec

Country

Time Schedule

France

5 January 2017 to 24 February 2017

Italy

17 May 2018 to 5 June 2018

Germany

16 July 2018 to 10 September 2018

Switzerland

30 May 2018 to 29 June 2018

Poland

March 2019 to July 2019

Canada

Pilot qualitative study: March 2019; Pancanadian study: August 2019 or January 2020 (depending on funding)


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