Positioning of online gambling and gaming products from a consumer perspective: a blurring of perceived boundaries

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Thorsten, R, Gainsbury, SM & Muehlbach, C 2017, 'Positioning of online gambling and gaming products from a consumer perspective: a blurring of perceived boundaries', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 75, pp. 757-765.

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Traditionally disparate markets and products, gambling activities and games have begun to overlap in many ways, particularly in the online marketplace. Consumers appear to be moving between these activities, indicating perception of similarities in products. The hybrid nature of some activities has resulted in gambling regulators considering whether they need to act with regards to certain games. Typically, regulatory classifications and taxonomies have been centred on objective features of product offerings, based on the perspective of producers and technology. However, consumer perspective is relevant to defining markets and understanding the potential migratory relationship between products. This research aims to gather an indepth understanding about the multifacetal market space of online gambling and gaming from a consumer perspective. A large-scale survey (n = 1000 respondents) assesses perceived similarities between 16 gaming and 9 gambling products by means of holistic triadic comparisons. Multidimensional scaling provides evidence for enduring market boundaries between online gambling and gaming products, but indicates several fine-grained similarities on the level of specific products. Products encountering elements of skill, planning, consideration, and achievements over time were perceived differently from those that are more playful and less realistic with immediate outcomes. Consumers did see connections between games and some gambling products, which may explain the joint usage of and migration between products. Insights are thus relevant for regulators, consumers, and professionals in both gambling and gaming industries as market boundaries have become blurred.

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