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Does Pareto Rule Internet Gambling? Problems Among The “Vital Few” & “Trivial Many”


  • Matthew A. Tom
  • Debi A. LaPlante
  • Howard J. Shaffer


Using records of Internet gambling subscribers (n = 1,384), this study tested the Pareto principle: about 20% of customers, “the vital few,” are responsible for about 80% of the activity, while 80%, “the trivial many,” are responsible for the remaining 20%. Participants completed the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) and had a history of betting on sports and/or online casino games during the twelve months before completing the screen. Using various measures, the vital few Internet gamblers ranged between 4.6% and 17.8% of the subscribers – smaller than the Pareto principle would suggest. Between 38% and 67% of the vital few and between 24% and 35% of the trivial many screened positive for gambling-related problems. This research suggests that the concepts of the “vital few” and the “trivial many” apply to Internet gambling.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew A. Tom & Debi A. LaPlante & Howard J. Shaffer, 2014. "Does Pareto Rule Internet Gambling? Problems Among The “Vital Few” & “Trivial Many”," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 8(1), pages 73-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:buc:jgbeco:v:8:y:2014:i:1:p:73-100

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    Cited by:

    1. Fiedler, Ingo & Kairouz, Sylvia & Costes, Jean-Michel & Weißmüller, Kristina S., 2019. "Gambling spending and its concentration on problem gamblers," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 82-91.

    More about this item


    Gambling; Internet; Internet gambling; Pareto principle; Pathological gambling;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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