UNLV enlisting respondents for Online Poker Study about Government Regulation

A number of online poker studies have been conducted over the last decade, commissioned by regulators, operators or other parties with a vested interest in the business. The University of Las Vegas’ Department of Economics is recruiting participants for a new research project in which the purpose is purely educational, with no consignments involved. Anyone US or Canadian resident 21 years of age or above that has ever played real money poker online is eligible to take part.Online poker study gauges importance of government regulation

The purpose of the online poker study is to ascertain the general attitude of the poker playing population in regards to government regulations of online poker. Respondents will not receive any direct benefit for taking the study, but the results will be used to “inform the public debate concerning the regulation of online poker.”

The study is being conducted in dual part by ‘Principal Investigator’, Professor of Economics Bradley S. Wimmer of UNLV’s Lee Business School, and ‘Student Investigator’, Malissa Redona, an MA student at UNLV who is compiling the data to culminate into her Master Thesis.

The study, entitled Online Poker: Consumers and Regulation, is said to take between 15 and 20 minutes. As a point of reference, it took me just over 16 minutes to complete. The first round of questions identify a participant’s experience playing online poker; very straight forward and easy to answer. The survey gets a little more in-depth from there, asking about a player’s personal preferences.

First, the online poker study delves into the importance of an online poker room being regulated, followed by the level of security the participant is comfortable with.  Respondents are then asked about their typical stakes and rake contributions, how they feel about different rake structures and how important the average VP$IP% (percentage of times the average player Voluntarily Put Money In Pot) of an online poker site is to them.

Next comes some even more mentally challenging questions, where respondents are asked to consider what they would do in certain situations. A series of scenarios are presented. In each scenario, two options are given, A and B, with one site being regulated and one not. The player must decide, based on all of the additional criteria for each site (security level, rake structure, player volume, VP$IP%), which they would be more likely to play online poker at. In this way, the online poker survey can gauge just how important regulation is when faced with various other choices.

More hypothetical situations are then posed involving one-time lottery promotions in which the survey can judge a player’s desired level of risk. All in all, the online poker study will give researchers a scope of who plays poker over the internet, what draws them to the sites they choose and just how important regulation is to the general poker playing public.

Statistics show that the majority of US online poker players continue to participate at offshore websites that are not regulated in the United States. Only three US jurisdictions, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, offer a regulated online poker market at the moment, but even residents of those states are still being drawn to unregulated sites. The online poker study surely hopes to discover why players are attracted to these offshore destinations, and could eventually play a key role in helping US operators tweak their products to attract more players to legal venues.