A new research study has revealed that just 5 percent of players account for over 45 percent of online casino revenue netted by Canada’s state gaming operator, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
The study carried out by the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Gambling Research has shown that BCLC’s PlayNow.com gains nearly half of its revenue from a small fraction of its visitors.
Researchers studied the site’s activities for a month in 2015 to capture data trends. In July 2015, PlayNow saw 41,041 visitors who made around 48 million bets valued at C$118 million (US $90 million).
Just around 30 percent of the visitors played on the site’s eCasino section but they accounted for 96.7 percent of all bets. Slot games formed close to 80 percent of the online bets. The top 20 percent of most active players contributed to almost 82 percent of all eCasino bets.
Nearly 46 percent of the spending on eCasino gaming came from 619 players who placed 12,594 bets having an average value of C$6.4 per bet which totaled to a monthly sum of $66,361. In Lottery, the top 5 percent of players amounting to 1,666 players accounted for merely 18.5 percent of total wagering. These players typically placed 32 bets each of value C$7.8 leading to a monthly total of C$230.
An average online lottery player placed nine bets during that month, which worked out to C$3.40 per play. On the other hand, the average online casino game player made 763 bets having an average bet value of C$1.20. According to industry observers, similar results would be seen on all major online Canadian sites. Experts have also pointed out that gambling spends does not equal to gambling losses so the results need to be evaluated carefully before drawing conclusions.
The sharp skew is however likely to cause alarm amongst gambling opponents even though there is so far no evidence that such trends apply to land-based casinos as well. Dr. Perry Kendall, the Chief Public Health Officer of the British Columbia province compiled a report on problem gaming which showed that problem gamblers account for almost 26 percent of the total gambling revenue of the province, which is seven times their incidence in the population.
The results come even as the BCLC recently launched a new responsible gambling program called GameSense that seeks to address gambling issues by educating players of the risk from gambling and providing guidance in case they need help.