Ernst & Young, this time unfortunately wrong

Article by Rob van der Gaast

Last year it was the 25th anniversary of Ernst & Young’s annual „Gaming Bulletin“. This report has tracked the development of the gaming industry in the US for the last 25 years, so informs a press release, and it goes on with the promising statement: “This is the first year that the Bulletin has covered also the development of the gaming industry on a global basis.”

In his Gaming Bulletin Brian R. Ford, E&Y’s Global Gaming Service Leader, mentions the conceptions Gambling and Gaming without using a definition. Above that he talks only about the Casino Sector.

“Gambling is defined as taking risk in hope of a positive outcome. Investing in a stock market that could go up or down is gambling. To cross the street against a heavy flow of traffic is gambling. The distinction that makes “gambling” is that it is taking a risk on an event specifically organized to accommodate a game of chance. Lottery games, casinos and sport pools serve as specific examples.

Gaming is gambling but gambling is not necessarily gaming.

It is probably because of the harshness of the words “gambling” and “betting” that a softer euphemism has crept into the vocabulary.

When in the early ‘70s state governments in the U.S. began to organize lotteries, the spin-doctors went to extreme lengths to assure voters who were asked to repeal the constitutional ban on gambling that the issue was not gambling but gaming. The campaign to persuade voters was a carefully calculated approach, because the average American was brought up to consider that gambling was sinful and imbued with the belief that “gamblers” would spend the milk money and next month’s rent on this awful activity.

By endless repetition, “gaming” became to mean lotteries, and “gambling” to mean games played at a casino. But this distinction became meaningless when instant scratch-card lottery games surfaced on player operated terminals rather than printed on a piece of cardboard. “Gaming” as a description now encompasses all games of chance. Today, games have converged. What once was strictly a lottery games is now offered at casinos, and games once the exclusive domain of casinos are marketed by a growing number of government lottery organizations at a retailer location. Throughout the text, your authors will use the term “gaming” to mean the inclusion of all games of chance.”*

In the Gaming Bulletin one may find a listing of all the countries with legal casinos and the respective numbers of gaming facilities.

According to E&Y, West Europe has in total 608 casinos. However Ernst & Young are far away from the reality with their number of casinos. That’s bad for a company based on facts and figures.

The company which is “in the business of delivering seamless, consistent, high-quality professional services world wide” endows the Netherlands with 51 casinos, however there are only 14 legal casinos, all state owned monopolies. Also the number of casinos in Belgium is incorrect. E&Y counts only 8 casinos in Belgium, but that should be 9. Also the number of casinos in North-Cyprus is wrong.

The Government of Turkey, classified e&y in Central Asia, prohibited casinos already on August 8, 1997!

And one may find even more inaccurate information in the 25th anniversary of the E&Y’s Gaming Bulletin.

Conclusion: Ernst & Young, this time unfortunately wrong!

*Jean-Marc Lafaille, (2005). Dissected and Re-assembled, an Analysis of Gaming. Canada: International Web express Inc., Coquitlam, B.C.