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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.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Matthew A. Tom, Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction

Division on Addiction, Research Data Analyst

Debi A. LaPlante, Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction

Division on Addiction, Director of Research

Howard J. Shaffer, Cambridge Health Alliance, Division on Addiction

Division on Addiction, Director


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