The popularity of online gambling, and in particular Texas Hold'em Poker, has experienced unprecedented growth, with annual revenues surpassing 20 billion American dollars.
Given the current lack of knowledge about poker players, the objective of our study was to document and compare the profile of online gamblers to that of casino gamblers. We met with 200 poker players (87 online gamblers and 113 casino gamblers). Through this research, we were able to observe that not all forms of poker are equivalent, and not all poker players are the same. Poker differs somewhat from other forms of gambling, as it requires a certain level of skill on the part of the player. Poker players consider themselves different from other gamblers. These differences should influence prevention and treatment strategies.
Not all forms of poker are equivalent, and not all poker players are the same.
In addition, not all forms of poker (tournaments vs. cash games) are equivalent. Indeed, gamblers spend between two and five times more when playing cash games. By determining in advance the maximum potential loss, poker tournaments seem to have a protective effect on the players' pocketbooks.
Finally, not all poker players are the same. Indeed, online poker players appear to be more at risk because they spend more money, anticipate higher profits, entertain more high-risk thoughts and exhibit more gambling-related problems than their casino counterparts. Various means should be put in place, especially on gambling websites, to help online gamblers to remain in control.
Magali Dufour, Université de Sherbrooke
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Deposit of the research report : September 2009