Within the development of online gambling, there has been a rapid increase in the number of online gamblers, although the latest studies show that the relation between online gamblers and visitors to land-based casinos still favors the latter.
At the beginning of this century, the percentage of online gamblers was less than 1% of the traditional casinos’ gamblers.
We wanted to find out what is the share of traditional gamblers who also visit online casinos on 2018, outline the characteristics of online casino visitors and identify the reasons why some of them only go to traditional casinos while others visit both traditional and online casinos.
The results were that only 7% of the traditional casinos’ visitors also visit online casinos.
Then, we conducted semi-structured interviews with the group of gamblers who visit online casinos to determine the reasons for their decision. The primary purpose of the research was to determine the reasons why certain gamblers only visit traditional casinos, whereas others also gamble online.
The first factor we found was the vicinity of a traditional casino. 80% of the land-based casino visitors lived less than 20 km away.
The second factor expressed by 77% of the gamblers was that visiting a traditional casino the possibility to socialize with other gamblers, which is only possible in a traditional casino environment. It should be emphasized here that he desire to socialize is most common in two age groups: in the age group between 21 and 30, and in the age group between 31 and 40.
The third most important factor for visiting a traditional casino, expressed by 57% was entertainment options such as concerts, dancing and so on.
The fourth reason for visiting a traditional casino also include safety issues. 37%, of land-based casinos, are afraid of their personal information being abused, sent over the internet. Such fears are most pronounced in the age group above 50.
Most of the gamblers who use the services of online casinos are males: 85% were men and 15% were women. Online players are representatives of the younger generation, the oldest interviewee was 44 years old. Most gamblers hold middle or high positions in the organization structure of the organizations where they are employed, and have, on average, secondary school or university education. All online gamblers use computers, the internet on a daily basis, and have access to broadband connections. Most of them access online casinos at home, more rarely from their workplace.
They have a positive attitude towards the internet and online services and a high degree of trust in the information technology. They do not use the internet to access only online casinos but for other services as well, e. g. online banking, shopping and such.
In the interview, we were also interested in how often they visit online casinos and what type of games they play. Our finding was that the majority of respondents visit online casinos once a week or even less frequently, while only 4 respondents play at least twice a week. It is interesting that the respondents visit online casinos on weekdays, mainly from Monday to Thursday, while on weekends, i. e. from Friday until Sunday, they prefer going to traditional casinos.
When they gamble online, they almost exclusively play the games at gambling tables and are not very keen on slot machines. When they play over the internet, they make smaller wagers compared to those in traditional casinos.
This is not surprising since their average playing time in online casinos is shorter than in traditional casinos.
Since the gamblers who only go to traditional casinos were asked for the reasons behind their decision, a similar question was posed to online gamblers as well. Their main motive for gambling online is the lack of time caused by work and family-related matters. 41.74% of the respondents stated this as the main reason.
It is interesting that more than a fifth of respondents (22%) stated that they had visited an online casino only once. They were disappointed with the visit.
They believe that online casinos do not offer the same level of the adrenalin rush as traditional casinos. They did not return for a second visit because playing over the internet meant playing alone, without their usual company and because they want to share their experiences with other casino visitors.
Consequently, a fifth of land-based gamblers does not intend to visit an online casino again.
Almost a fifth or 18% of the respondents visit online casinos because of geographical considerations – they live 40–70 kilometers from the traditional casino.
11% of respondents gave a large variety of games as the reason for visiting online casinos; online casinos enable them to play games they miss in traditional casinos.
The reasons for visiting online casinos are also privacy and the peaceful environment the players can enjoy while gambling online.
7.4% of respondents claimed that they preferred gambling online since it gave them enough time to think and play in peace. While gambling online, they are not disturbed by other casino visitors.
The main advantages of online casinos, which attract the gamblers to visit them, are accessibility (no geographical limitations), the large variety of games, privacy, and a peaceful environment. The reasons for visiting online casinos are exactly opposite to the reasons for visiting traditional casinos: geographical proximity, possibility to socialize with friends and optional additional entertainment.
The gamblers who visit online casinos have a positive attitude towards information technology and are representatives of the younger generation.
There seem to be only two options for traditional casinos: the first is to create their own online casinos, which would be a smart promotional and marketing move, and the second is to transform online gamblers into traditional gamblers at least on weekends.
Despite the numerous ethical questions and dangers posed by online gambling, it seems that new technological solutions provide new opportunities for the development and growth of the industry. It depends on the wider social environment and the providers of online gambling whether these casinos continue to exist in the future, or else are banned by the legislative authorities.