A Strange Study That Just Doesn’t Sit Right

by Lou on June 18, 2008

Fifteen percent of online casino owners have a criminal record, according to a recent report I read. A study financed by BestOCG.com and carried out by Professor Juan Manuel, an expert in business development at the “Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales” of the Universidad del Itsmo in Guatemala, based its conclusion on “… a random sample of 119 online casino owners.”

Somehow, this just doesn’t pass my smell test. How, for example, is a researcher going to randomly sample 119 online casino owners. Many of the privately held online casinos are remote, hard to reach, and in some cases their ownership group is hidden behind a few layers of intermediaries—and randomly sampling a group of owners who are likely to discuss their personal backgrounds and criminal background with a researcher is not as easy as polling a sample of voters as they exit their neighborhood voting booths.

The publicly owned casinos can’t be counted in this survey because they are public corporations, owned by shareholders, and run by hired managers. Whether Professor Manuel included these organizations in his study, and looked for criminal backgrounds among the managers, is unknown.

The other question, of course, is what constitutes a criminal background? If a gaming executive has a criminal record based on charges of bookmaking and illegal gaming, that’s one thing; if he served time for embezzlement or other financial irregularities, that’s something else again.

I just don’t see how he could have conducted such a study. Nor do I understand whether, or if, he weighted his data based on the size of the market each online gaming site claims. After all, if you survey ten online sites, of which nine are very small and together have only 20 percent of the market, while the tenth site is extremely large and has the remaining 80 percent of the business, reporting the results based on site ownership—instead of on the basis of customers served—the is sort of off-center and misleading.

I haven’t seen anything about this study since I read the initial online report, so others may be skeptical too. And while I may be wrong, this study and its results just sounds improbable on the face of it.

{ 1 comment }

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