Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thrifty Thinking: Millennials and Gambling

A recent survey conducted by, a personal finance comparison site, explored U.S. gambling habits. The survey, which polled about 2,000 people, had some interesting data, including a breakdown of gamblers by gender and age, showing who loses most. 

Highlights of the survey include: 
  • 44% of American visit a casino annually, which is more than people who visit the movie theater
  • Men are almost twice as likely to have lost money gambling than women
  • Baby Boomers have lost the most amount of money gambling
I interviewed Fred Schebesta, CEO of financial comparison website,, to learn more.
Why is gambling and betting becoming more popular?
 24 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the casino gambling industry. Despite this, more than 2 in 5 (44 percent) visit a casino annually. If you factor into account all the different forms of gambling, it’s not surprising that gambling is thriving in the United States. As for why, it could be due to higher disposable incomes, a culture of consumerism, or easier access to gambling through online portals.
The Indian gaming industry alone has increased its revenue every year since 2006 and made $28.5 billion dollars in 2014. Clark County, Las Vegas’s home territory, made $9.5 billion alone in 2014. Nearly all American states allow some form of gambling, with only Hawaii and Utah completely opting out. Twenty states allow commercial casinos, of which there are over 500 (503 in 2013) in the country. America loses more than any other country in the world to gambling, losing $119 billion dollars in 2013 - and the third most per head of population.
According to a poll of 1,900 Americans, 7 percent of respondents, equivalent to 4.6 million Americans, regret losing too much money on gambling.
What are some of the most common forms of betting? research shows that playing the lottery was the most popular form of gambling, with 53 percent of all American gamblers participating in this. This was followed by casino gambling (32 percent) and casual betting with friends on games such as golf and fantasy sports (26 percent). Internet gambling was the least popular form of gambling, attracting just 3 percent of Americans.”
Participation of American adults in different forms of gambling in 2012
What forms of gambling did you participate in during the last 12 months?

Playing the lottery
Casino gambling
Casual betting with friends (betting on games of golf, fantasy sports etc)
Playing poker
Wagering on a race
Internet gambling
source:, American Gaming Association

What groups of people lose the most to gambling?
 According to the poll, 6 percent of American women and 10 percent of American men report ‘putting it all on black’ as a recent money mistake.
The most likely age group of Americans to have lost too much to gambling, according to the poll, are Baby Boomers – those aged 55+. 7 percent of this group admitted to a gambling-related mistake. This compares to 6 percent of Millennials (18-34 year olds), and 6 percent of Generation X (35-54 year olds).
Those earning an annual salary in the vicinity of $100,000-$150,000 per year were slightly more likely to report gambling as a recent financial mistake. The income group which was least likely to report this was those in the $50,000-$75,000 bracket.”
Percentage of income groups who reported gambling as a recent financial mistake.

source: poll of 1914 Americans,

If people are going to use gambling as a form of entertainment, how can they make sure they're doing so responsibly?
Gambling can be a risky form of entertainment, but if you do decide to gamble it’s best to keep the following in mind so you don’t go broke.
Decide on a budget you can afford to gamble, and do not exceed this spend. If you’re in a live betting environment (eg: casino, race track), take out all of your budget in cash and only use this cash for gambling. If you’re in an online environment, transfer one set amount to your gambling account, and use these funds to gamble.
Do not start off expecting to win – you will most likely be disappointed. The best philosophy is to expect to lose a percentage of your gambling budget in exchange for an evening’s entertainment.
If you want to spend several hours gambling, start off with small bets. It can be tempting to bet big with your bankroll, but it will quickly disappear.
If you win big, consider calling it a night. The most likely outcome if you continue is that you will lose some of your winnings, rather than win big again.

Do not chase your losses. If you lose your bankroll, stop immediately.

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