The percentage of industry revenue generated by individuals with a gambling disorder has been the subject of much speculation but not a significant amount of sound scholarly research. The small amount of objective research that has been done on this topic shows that the small percentage of the population that does not gamble responsibly—estimated at about 1 percent—is not the main source of revenue for gaming establishments.
In research conducted for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) estimated that between 5 percent and 15 percent of gross gaming revenue (including casino, lottery and pari-mutuel receipts) came from problem and pathological gamblers in the past year. These figures were based on a combination of data from NORC’s 1998 telephone and patron surveys. According to the phone survey alone, those not categorized as pathological gamblers generated the vast majority of daily revenue for casinos—more than 96 percent. The survey attributed less than 4 percent of gross daily casino revenue to pathological gamblers.(1)
Overall, casino patrons spend their money wisely. According to a 2002 poll conducted for the AGA by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Luntz Research Companies, 80 percent of customers always or usually set a budget before they gamble.(2)
Casinos make money by entertaining people and making sure they have an enjoyable experience. They have no desire to take advantage of individuals with psychological disorders or problems.
- National Opinion Research Center, et al., Gambling Impact and Behavior Study, report prepared for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (Chicago: University of Chicago, April 1, 1999), 32.
- State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment (Washington, D.C.: American Gaming Association, 2002).