The Impact of Income in Online Gambling

Written by: Webster Lupton, Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist
4 minute read
Who Gambles More Based on Income

Online gambling entertains people from all budget levels. However, research reveals that high-income earners indulge in online betting more often in the US. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) produced a study showing that people with more wealth gamble online more frequently than low-income earners. 

Its study contrasts recent findings from the UK’s YouGov, which concluded that people from all backgrounds play online casino games equally. The NCPG’s and YouGov’s studies aimed to determine if specific demographics are more predisposed to problem gambling.

News Highlights

  • 26% of wealthy US adults gamble online, versus 23% of the low-income class.
  • UK research shows more parity among gamblers of all revenue levels
  • Thanks to its low wagers, online wagering is the great equalizer among classes

How Income Plays Out in Online Gambling

Conducted in March 2021, the NCPG study focused on the online betting habits of Americans and the public attitudes towards it. It separated gamblers by earnings brackets to see who bet more on online casino games, sports, poker, and more. You can see key highlights from the research below.

  • 26% of high-income earners in the US enjoy online gambling. The NCPG defines these individuals as those earning $100,000 or more per year.
  • The upper-middle-class—those making between $75,000 and $99,999 annually—is just behind the high-earnings bracket at 25%.
  • Meanwhile, 23% of low-income earners wager online in some way. This group constitutes Americans who earn less than $25,000 per year.
  • The study’s most-significant disparity occurred between the high and lower-middle classes. 19% of the lower-middle class, which makes between $25,000 and $49,999 annually, wagers online.

Problem Gambling

The NCPG didn’t draw direct conclusions between earnings and problem gambling. However, the wealthy could suffer more from online betting problems due to their higher representation. Keith Whyte, NCPG Executive Director, believes that all of the study’s findings could be useful.

We hope the new reports spur the public and private sectors to redouble their efforts to implement policies and allocate resources to create a safer gambling environment.

Keith Whyte

UK vs. US Online Betting Behaviors

In November 2021, the UK’s YouGov produced a study that showed mixed correlations between earnings and online wagering. This research revealed that high-income individuals favor online sports betting versus other classes. However, not much separation exists between the types of online casino games. Here are highlights from YouGov’s study:

  • 12% of wealthy people place at least one sports bet per month, versus 9% for the middle class and 7% for the lower class. YouGov defines high-budget earners as those making twice the national median salary (£31,500). The lower class earns 75% less than the median average.
  • 6% of high-income Britons wager at least £100 on online sportsbooks monthly, versus 4% in all other classes.
  • 4% of the wealthy play online casino games each month. This percentage is marginally higher than the 3% of middle- and lower-class people who play at internet casinos.

Sports Betting

Online Sports Betting Game Balls on Phone

Compared to US online bettors, high-income Brits noticeably like sports betting more than lower classes. However, the same disparity doesn’t apply to online casinos, where wealthy Brits only edge out other people from other backgrounds by 1%.

Of course, the NCPG didn’t separate the different types of internet gambling like YouGov. Nevertheless, its research clearly shows a gap between the classes of gamblers.

More upper (26%) and upper-middle class (25%) people bet online versus the middle (19%) and lower classes (23%).

Online Gambling Bridges the Income Gap

Online Gambling

As seen in the US-based study, higher earners gamble more online. However, the difference in percentages between high and low earners is more significant at retail (land-based) casinos.

The NCPG study showed that 49% of those earning over $150,000 per year play in land-based casinos. 45% of those making between $100,000 and $149,999 also gamble in retail establishments. However, only 28% of people who make $25,000 or less play in retail casinos.

Budget-Friendly Option

The smaller minimum wagers at online casinos are the catalysts behind this notable disparity. Online casinos, for example, accept minimum bets worth between $0.10 and $1 in online blackjack. Meanwhile, most retail casinos require $5–$25 minimum blackjack wagers.

That said, online wagering bridges the budget gap between gamblers. It allows all classes to enjoy casino games, online poker, and sports betting.

Money Talks in Gambling

The NCPG research and even a portion of the YouGov study show that more affluent people gamble online. The gap is 3% between the number of higher and lower earners who play at casino sites in the US.

However, this difference doesn’t come close to the 21% disparity between the haves and have-nots who gamble at retail casinos. The smaller wagers at online gambling sites make the activity more affordable and attractive to all classes.

Webster Lupton

Webster Lupton Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist

Webster Lupton is a journalist and expert sports and casino writer with over 30 years of experience. Webster is a seasoned researcher and a published author. He also enjoys the outdoors and birdwatching.

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