Research is the foundation of Canada’s gaming industry. There is a wealth of research being undertaken throughout the industry every year, from pilot tests and focus groups, to surveys and longitudinal studies. Operators, regulators and industry experts pride themselves on making evidence-based decisions. They rely on research to inform product development and player convenience features, as well as new responsible gambling programs and awareness campaigns.
In addition to evaluating a specific concept, Canadian gaming research is often funded with the goal of furthering industry knowledge, challenging commonly held assumptions or developing best practice standards. Examples of this type of research, which people across the industry benefit from, include the following:
Problem Gambling Prevalence Research: A Critical Overview – This examination led by Jamie Wiebe, PhD, and Rachel A. Volberg, Ph.D, looked at more than 100 problem gambling prevalence studies, spanning more than 20 years of research worldwide. It found that new forms of gambling result in an initial increase in problem gambling prevalence, followed by a plateau or decline in these rates over time. An especially insightful and useful study, it reported that regardless of time, sample size or methodology of measurement, problem gambling prevalence rates consistently hover around one percent of the population.
- Youth Gambling 2.0 – Led by DECODE, a consulting firm that helps their clients understand young consumers, employees and influencers, this study surveyed 1,000 Canadians between the ages of 15 and 21. It asked them about their attitudes toward gambling, their participation in it, and their familiarity with the rules and access points of various gambling activities. The results offered an eye-opening look at how commonplace gambling is in youth culture today and the responsibility of adults to help educate youth and contextualize their experiences with gambling.
- Informed Player Choice Review – The Responsible Gambling Council is a recognized national authority in responsible gambling. Established in 1983, it was the country’s first non-profit responsible gambling organization. One of their primary functions is leadership in research and in 2010 they undertook a multi-jurisdictional review about the concept of informed player choice. A full report of their findings is expected to be released in 2010.
- Manitoba Longitudinal Study of Young Adults – This five-year study began in 2007 with approximately 650 Manitobans between the ages of 18 and 20. By tracking gambling behaviours and factors associated with gambling among this young group, the study will help inform program and policy development in Manitoba. Although it is province-specific, the findings will no doubt be shared nationally and internationally, with insight into today’s youth and the next generation of gamblers being valuable for decision-makers, researchers, operators, regulators and advocates alike.