PGCB-commissioned study says 1 in 10 PA residents gamble online in 2022

Yellow bridge in Pittsburgh
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The second edition of the Pennsylvania Interactive Gaming Assessment: Online Gambling Report shed some light on who in Pennsylvania is gambling and at what scale.

Conducted by Penn State University and commissioned by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the survey polled just shy of 2,000 Pennsylvanians about their gambling habits. The first report covered the year 2021, while this report focused on 2022. It is important to note this is not a longitudinal study, so the respondents differed from year to year.

Profile of gambler is educated white men in their late 30s

According to the most recent batch of responses, one out of every ten PA residents has gambled online in the past year. The profile of those players is largely in line with expectations. They are primarily college-educated married men in their mid-to-late 30s. They have jobs and average an income of more than $50,000. The Pittsburgh area had the highest concentration of online gambling patrons, representing 15% of total users. The Philadelphia area comprised 12%.

Online sports betting was far and away the most popular form of gambling, with 54% of respondents participating. Online slots (33.3%) and online fantasy sports (31.9%) rounded out the top three. Just over half of respondents also partook in more than one form of gambling, with online sports betting and DFS being the most popular combination.

Even though legal options for online gambling have been present in Pennsylvania since 2019, 13% of those polled did note they still take part in offshore gambling options.

One in three gamblers reported problems controlling their habit

One seemingly alarming stat from the study is the finding that over one in three people have had problems related to gambling. The report did note that, of the group of people who did gamble online, nearly 17% did not complete the section. With only 11% of the roughly 2,000 people polled gambling online, that takes the number down to around 180 people.

The bright side of the problem gambling findings is that no one polled said they borrowed or stole money in order to fund their gambling habits. The biggest issue people experienced was trying to cut back on how much they spent on gambling or how often they gambled. Of the responses, 26.5% reported that issue, which is more than two-and-a-half times any other issue.

The report found that 1.7% of all Pennsylvanians have reached out to the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline, but somewhat surprisingly, the hotline is used slightly more for land-based gambling than online gambling participants.

Finally, the report looked at why people were motivated to gamble online. Nearly everyone (95.7%) cited enjoyment, 80% pointed to the convenience of gambling, and a similar amount, 78%, mentioned its ease and availability.