by: Gene Koprowski.
The game of Internet poker is not just a pastime -- increasingly, according to the latest poll, it is a profession. The online card game is viewed as "a viable means to make a living,"
Online Poker Not Just a Pastime -- It's Now a Profession, Poll Says
according to a study released this week by the Responsible Gambling Council, based in Toronto, Canada.
The survey undertaken by Ipsos-Reid, a leading social sciences research firm, in the spring of this year discovered that four percent of those polled in the 18 to 34 age range believe they could easily earn a living playing poker on the Internet.
Increasing numbers of people are playing the card game online "more for money and less for recreation," the RGC study said.
The survey showed that there is a "significant growth in popularity of online poker among younger people," said Dr. Jon Kelly, chief executive officer of RGC.
Once a Week
About 33 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 play pokers for money, and almost a quarter of those respondents play at least once a week on the Internet.
"This age group spends the most time online," Kelly said.
Kelly said that people who gamble for recreation and entertainment purposes tend to spend about one to two percent of their income on gambling.
According to Statistics Canada, close to 18.9 million Canadians aged 15 and over gambled in 2002, the last year for which reliable statistics are available.
The majority of gamblers ?bet for fun,? the survey said, and does not have a problem. The national average gambling expenditure per adult in 2001 was $447.
According to the poll, 21 percent of online gamblers play once a year or less frequently; 22 percent play every couple of months; 11 percent play once a month; 11 percent play once every couple of weeks.
The survey shows that 16 per cent of Ontario poker players are playing once a week or more often - which comes out as even percent of adults 35 years or older and 24 per cent of young adults "Most people who gamble for entertainment spend about one to two per cent of their annual income on gambling," said Kelly.
The poll was conducted in Spring 2006 -- from February 21, 2006 through March 2, 2006 -- from a random telephone survey of 1003 respondents aged 18 years or older. The sample was weighted to ensure a regional and age/sex composition that reflects that of the actual Ontario population according to census data. Results are considered accurate to within +/- three percentage points. Polls with more than 1,000 participants are considered the most statistically sound, according to experts. The study is specific to Canada.
But other studies, overseas, show similar growth. Statistics from the U.K. Gambling Commission indicated that "less than one percent of the adult population" was involved in Internet gambling at the start of this decade, while today the figure has doubled to two percent. Many online companies indicate they are already properly regulated, through the eCOGRA organization, and the sheer wealth of sites, often based abroad, makes it easy for consumers to flit through cyberspace, and find sites they like.
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