Again about market studies

By Dan Iliovici,
Vice-president Rombet

I wrote in an article last year, that a first step that our industry should take, including the authority – ONJN – would be a study on the relevant aspects regarding gambling in our country:

• What percentage of the population gambles frequently? Here we have to see what is meant by a normal frequency, when this “normal” is exceeded, when we can talk about problematic gambling (problem gambling) and when we reach pathological gambling, addiction.
• Participation in the different categories of games: online, traditional or both, betting on sports events, live casino, classic slots, AWPs, etc.
• For each of the above cases we should have the image of the groups of players, by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. I list some characteristics, just for information: age, sex (gender!?), level of education, occupation, married / partner or single, residence in an urban or rural environment, etc.
• Information about the income of the players, about how much they play – what budget (percentage of income) they allocate to the game in a certain period (to see what period we take as a benchmark), related to the type of player, as classified according to the first point.
I stop here with this enumeration of objectives of an exhaustive study of the field of gambling, which can be supplemented with other useful information, depending on the category of stakeholders who will use the results of the study: authority, operators, psychologists, sociologists, etc.


Watching the way similar studies are conducted in other countries, Great Britain, first of all, I am struck by the methodology of these studies.
Thus, most of the time, those who are part of the analyzed sample are contacted by phone by the authors of the study.

This method seems to me inadequate for our field, for several reasons. Here are the ones I see as the most important:
• Gamers, especially the “big” ones, prefer (seek) anonymity, so they will refuse to participate in any kind of study, no matter how many assurances they get from the questioners that everything is confidential. Not to mention the (visceral) fear of the tax authorities. “Friends know why!”
• All these “high rollers” will try to decrease, consciously or not, the amounts played (lost), the time allocated to the game, the frequency with which they play, etc. All this to hide (often unconsciously) the existence of problems due to excessive gambling, in order not to be (self)-categorized as problem gamblers or, even worse, as addicts / pathological gamblers.
• The moral standard in society automatically blames those who practice gambling, and gamblers know this very well. Why should he accuse himself of being part of a category disregarded by society?! Isn’t it more convenient, more prudent, to say that… we play occasionally, once or twice a year, just for fun?! Why beat ourselves up?

There are other cases where so-called “focus groups” of players are formed for the study, but here other problems arise, which I will try to analyze in the next article on this topic.

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