How Marketers Can Better Understand the American Gambler

37% of this audience will be picking up a lottery ticket in the next 30 days, and 21% will be heading to a casino

The U.S. is home to the highest-valued gambling industry in the world. In 2020, a year in which most industries were hit hard by the pandemic, the gambling market adapted and embraced online mediums of reaching consumers.

But who are the people driving this growth in an already well-established industry? What motivates them to place bets and what are their favorite types of gambling? The launch of YouGov Global Gambling Profiles, a tool which continually gathers data from gamblers in 23 different markets, gives us the ability to answer these questions better than ever before for marketers looking to better understand this group.

Favorite types of gambling in the U.S. market

Americans love the lottery. Although our sample of gamblers specifically excludes those whose only form of gambling is playing the lottery, the activity is still the most popular form of wager—even if its popularity is somewhat less pronounced among younger generations. Overall, almost two in five (37%) plan to play a lottery game in the next 30 days.

Casino betting appears next on the list, with about one in five Americans (21%) saying they will bet in a casino over the same period. This form of gambling is more or less consistent in its popularity among all age groups, except those aged 18 to 24, where it falls to 15%. Online forms of casino and card gambling are also popular, particularly with the 25 to 34 age bracket. Almost of a quarter of this age group (23%) say they will play an online casino game in the next 30 days. That’s compared to a broader average of 15%.

One-sixth of our regular gamblers also show an inclination towards online slots (17%), while one in seven say they will buy a ticket for a lucky draw in the next 30 days (14%).

But what about sports betting?

It might come as a surprise to some that sports betting doesn’t feature in the top five, but that’s partially because of the fragmented nature of sports-based gambling, which features various formats, which we track separately.

Fantasy sports betting is the sub-category which comes closest to joining the top five. One in eight regular gamblers say they will play fantasy sports for money in the next 30 days (13%).

How high are the stakes?

Global Gambling Profiles also gives users actionable insight into the money placed on various types of gambling each month. Competition in the U.S. seems to be stiff across various categories in each price bracket, with slots tending to win out in some of the higher-stake brackets, but not by much.

The difference is most noticeable in the $100-$500 spend range. One in seven gamblers (14%) say they place between $100-$500 on slots on average per month, leaving behind the other categories: casino games (11%), sports and fantasy sports betting (11%) and bingo (10%). Each of the categories draw bets in the $501-$2,000 range, monthly, from between 6% to 7% of U.S. gamblers.

It will be interesting to see how the gambling market shapes up as the U.S. continues to overcome the pandemic. Will the reopening of public spaces mean that online modes of gambling decline in popularity? YouGov Global Gambling Profiles serves as a powerful tool for brands to monitor betting behaviors and can help them delve deeper into niche gambling segments.

Hoang Nguyen is a business data journalist at YouGov covering topics such as media ownership, advertising, consumer goods, video gaming and travel. He is a four-year veteran at YouGov and previously worked as a content writer for Intellectsoft.