Global: Motivators and barriers to gambling

Cheryl Kar
September 10, 2021, 3:13 PM UTC

It’s no secret that lockdown restrictions contributed to the popularity of online gambling – which channeled its acceptance as a leisure activity. But what are the key factors driving global consumers to gamble? And, when it comes to non-gamblers, what’s making them wary of gambling?

Global consumers are gambling for fun 

International data from YouGov reveals that two in five global consumers gamble for fun (41%). This view is most pervasive in Great Britain (49%), US (48%), Australia (48%), Sweden (47%) and urban Mexico (46%). Not too far behind are those who gamble to fantasize about winning (31%). More than a quarter of global gamblers play to win big, while just one in ten (11%) feel it’s a reliable way to make money or is just part of their routine. 

Gamblers who play to win big wish to win an expensive prize 

Digging deeper into the data suggests that it’s poker players (61%), followed by online sports, esports and slot bettors who cite fun as the top motivator for gambling (57%, 55% and 53% respectively). On the other end of the spectrum, those who fantasize about winning are most likely to be lottery draw participants (42%). Gamblers playing to win big are more likely to have bought a lucky draw ticket to win an expensive prize such as a car, house, or holiday (40%). 

Inadequate money: a reason to stay away from gambling 

A plurality of non-gamblers globally believe that there is no particular reason they don’t gamble online (28%) – indicating that there’s scope for marketers to convince this group once given the right insights about their attitude and behaviors. However, it’s worth noting that nearly a quarter believe they are unlikely to win big (23%) and one in five are short of money to gamble (22%). Just 11% say it is morally wrong while 10% say that they don’t have the time to gamble. 

Gambling is a subject of discussion for US adults 

American consumers are slightly more likely than global consumers to gamble for fun (48% vs 41%). But that’s not the only driving motivator for US adults to gamble – a quarter here say it enhances their experience on what they’re betting on (26%). When asked about the barriers to gambling online, more than a quarter in the US are either short of money or feel that the odds are stacked against them (27% and 26% respectively). Only one in ten (9%) say that it’s against their beliefs. 

One in five British gamblers want to win big 

More than a quarter of Brits gamble to fantasize about winning (27%) while up to a fifth want to win big (20%). On the flip side, when asked about the barriers to gambling online, nearly one in five non-gamblers here tell us that it hasn’t occurred to them (20%) – suggesting an opportunity for gambling companies to focus on this audience. Further down the list are 11% of non-gamblers who feel that gambling is morally wrong. 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 13 markets with sample sizes varying between 1034 and 2107 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in March 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples.