A Caution Regarding Recent Statistics Canada Gambling Data

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A Caution Regarding Recent Statistics Canada Gambling Data Statistics Canada - Perspectives on Labour and Income: Gambling Issue, September 2008

The Perspectives on Labour and Income is a monthly on-line publication produced by Statistics Canada that highlights selected Canadian labour marketplace issues. Once a year, a “Gambling” Issue is published (Sept 2008 latest issue). This issue provides a statistical account of the gaming industry in terms of net revenues, employment and household participation and expenditure on gaming activities Data and information from the Gambling Issue differs from the data used to produce the Canadian Gaming Association’s (CGA) Economic Impacts of the Canadian Gaming Industry study (January 2008) as well as the results of the impact analysis. It should be noted that the Economic Impact study was based on 2006 revenues.

First, gaming “net revenue” is defined in the Gambling Issue as “total revenues from wagers on government-controlled lotteries, casinos and VLTs, minus prizes and winnings”. To this, Statistics Canada adds Pari-Mutuel revenue. This total definition excludes a large portion of revenues from charitable and First Nation gaming activities/facilities that were included in Economic Impact report. This difference appears to be about $810.0 million in 2007 (Statistic Canada seemed to under report the gaming industry by about $810.0 million).

Second, the employment numbers reported in the Stats Canada Gambling Issue show significant year-to-year variation. These employment numbers are based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (“LFS”) – a monthly survey of approximately 54,000 households, that provides estimates of employment by industry based on the North American Industrial Classification System (“NAICS”). Under the NAICS, gaming is defined as “establishments primarily engaged in operating gambling facilities such as casinos, bingo halls and video gaming terminals; or providing gambling services such as lotteries and off-track betting” – this definition of gaming is different from the one used to estimate revenues.

Further, based on the LFS, gaming industry employment increased from 42,000 to 54,000 between 2002 and 2004 and then declined 14,000 to 40,000 by 2006, only to increase to 46,000 by 2007. Over this time period, gaming revenues increased year over year and such the variation in these employment estimate levels do not seem realistic.

The CGA’s Economic Impact study estimated total direct employment at 52,858 in 2006. This number was estimated using total wages and salary expenditures and average salary estimates.

In summary, caution should be used in using data and information from the Stats Canada Gambling Issue. Further, this data can not be compared to data used for or estimated from the CGA’s Economic Impact study