The Global Market for Online Gaming Recently, yStats.com, a market research organization out of Germany, published a study that showed the breadth of the gambling market across the globe. The results were fairly conclusive: allowing access to online gaming is a good decision from both a business standpoint as well as a tax-revenue standpoint. The study determined that online gambling would steadily increase by between one and ten percentage points every year for the next four years and then reach to the double-digits following that, allowing for billions of Euros in revenue. According to the study, one of the biggest reasons for the consistent growth of the online gambling market is because of the use of mobile apps. This allows more people more access to gaming more often, so they can take a few spins on the slots during their lunch break or play a few hands while they’re out and about. Also, the study reported that mergers, consolidation, and acquisitions play a major role in the expected growth, allowing more companies to come together to present better and more stable products to their customers, rather than having a large amount of small companies provide smaller or less stable products to customers. yStats.com also noted that the large expansion and regulation of the online gambling market helped bolster Europe to the largest online gambling market in the world. This trend is only expected to increase and provide further revenue for businesses and governments alike as countries that haven’t gotten on board with the online gambling community start to pass laws and regulate sites. Inside of Europe it was found that the most lucrative markets for online sports betting were in the UK, France, and Spain, while Italy holds the crown for the best place to playing online casino games. While the study placed a lot of emphasis on European nations because they offer the most legal and regulated gambling, the study did foresee an increase in online gaming regulation coming from bills across the US. The only sector that they didn’t expect to see much growth in is the Asia-Pacific region. Pennsylvania’s Fallacious Anti-Gambling Strategy One of the many anti-gambling killjoys in the United States, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, recently started throwing around a poll that they feel supports their cause, or at least shows that Pennsylvanians support their cause. The report was a survey done by Harper Polling that indicated that around 73% of Pennsylvanians oppose Internet gambling with 63% saying it’s “completely different” than traditional brick-and-mortar gambling. While that seems pretty cut and dry, those numbers may not be terribly accurate by quite a few standards. First and foremost, the way Harper polls is somewhat dodgy (at best). Nate Cohn, an election correspondent and poll analyzer for The Upshot (the New York Times’ politics/policy arm), has written about Harper’s methods before, questioning their automated phone survey methodology. One would initially think that an automated “press one for…” poll system would be fairly efficient and effective, it’s not as effective when you consider that the calls can’t legally be made to cellular phones. This means that only home phone users will get the calls, and that cuts out quite a bit of the younger and non-white demographic. This is just one of the problems that Nate Cohn found with Harper’s polling methods. And the fact that he mentions Harper Polling in an article called “When Polling is More Like Guessing” is pretty damning. Additionally, the poll has some more fatal flaws as the poll data does not mention how the selection was conducted and, if you’ve ever taken the most basic of statistics classes, you know that if the sample isn’t random, it’s hard to take seriously. The poll also didn’t release much demographic information about the population it surveyed. Again, this may be because of shoddy methodology or it may be because they didn’t anyone to find out that they mostly surveyed white people who were over 55 (which isn’t exactly a representative sample). Aside from even that, there were some transparently bad questions being asked. To remedy this, Chris Grove of OnlinePokerReport.com (who, admittedly, has a bias as well) released an unbiased, simple question on Google Customer Surveys: “Do you favor or oppose legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling in Pennsylvania?” Now, the people that favored online gambling regulation remained somewhat similar: 22% according to Harper Polling and 28% Google. That’s pretty reasonable. The telling statistic is in how many people said they weren’t sure. In the Harper poll, only 5% said they weren’t sure while a whopping 50.5% said they weren’t sure in the Google Customer Survey poll. Lest you think that the GCS poll mainly favors a younger demographic, it’s considered by Nate Silver (a statistician, writer for ESPN, and a Special Correspondent for ABC News) one of the more reliable polling devices as, in the 2012 elections the poll that put the popular vote for Obama was only off by .3% (2.3% on GCS and 2.6% in the actual election). So, let’s ask again, do Pennsylvanians favor or oppose online gambling? It looks like it’s anyone’s game.