A recent academic study of online gambling presented by the University of Lethbridge in Canada created acres of media coverage with its finding that Australian and New Zealand gamblers were the worst in the world. But this week it emerged that the wrong impression may have been given because the statistics were skewed by the gambling habits of one high roller.
Stuff magazine reports that the University of Lethbridge study showed that online gamblers Downunder spend more than punters in other countries – on average A$435 (NZ$539) per month.
However, one of the study's authors, Professor Robert Williams, says the figure for New Zealand and Australia was skewed by the answer of a single respondent….the study actually shows that African gamblers spend the most – A$1278 (NZ$1582) on average per month. Whether this statistic is equally misleading is uncertain; Williams added that this data was also skewed by large results.
In fact, the Antipodeans will probably be placated by the knowledge that they are actually the lowest spenders on the pastime. Williams says: "Only the median values provide somewhat meaningful comparisons between the regions. Using this criteria, the Australia-New Zealand internet and non-internet gamblers have the lowest expenditures of any region."
This is consistent with the report's finding that Internet gambling is less prevalent in New Zealand and Australia than in other countries.
The median monthly spend for Kiwi and Australian online gamblers was A$13 (NZ$16), compared with A$130 (NZ$161) for American and Canadian gamblers. A New Zealand Internal Affairs survey in 2005 found less than one percent of respondents gambled online, the magazine added.