The whole article is pointing out that a man who doesn't pay for the meal and instead splits, is considered a lover rather than a provider. You said "It could be confidence level of the guy or just the lack of desperation that someone who was paying and was therefore eager to please would not show." That's the point. Lover. Not provider.
It also sounds like you're looking for provider status dates from the get-go (like you said, the guy doesn't have to be rich but he provides), typically the men on sites like this are looking for more casual/maybe it could get more serious, relationships. As are the women they're trying to attract. There is actually a very large dating pool into the casual/could become serious area.
So what it really sounds like you're fighting for is validation of your dating pool, which is perfectly legitimate. It might sound like he's generalizing all women this way but he is just speaking to this group of people. He states that there is a 50% success rate which means he is implying that if this is the highest possible success rate, then these guys are getting about 100% of the girls they possibly can and the other 50% don't want that anyway. It's really quite clever.