U.S. States That Leave It Up To Chance the Most

min read
BetMGM May 16, 2024, 10:39 AM
Table of Contents
Which States’ Residents Leave It Up To Chance the Most?
Where Are Americans Willing To Take a Chance?
Closing Thoughts

From knowing when to place big bets on yourself to investing in high-risk assets, taking the right chances at the right time is an important skill when playing casino table games and or even navigating everyday life.

That got us thinking. Outside of the casino, how many chances are Americans taking? Are they taking big swings financially or leaving things up to chance when making career moves? Whether it’s investing in cryptocurrencies or something as benign as trying new foods, we wanted to learn more about where Americans are taking a chance.

We surveyed 2,200 people across the U.S. with scenario-based questions to find out in which parts of their lives they’re most and least likely to take a chance. Based on their responses, we developed a “chance score” where points were given based on how risky people were in each scenario we asked about. In the end, we determined the states where residents take the biggest chances and in what parts of their lives the average American is most willing to let the odds play out.

Which States’ Residents Leave It Up To Chance the Most?


Let’s find out which U.S. states are home to residents most inclined to take chances. From embracing opportunities to making bold decisions, we’ve analyzed the data to reveal the states where leaving things up to chance is a way of life and some specific reasons as to why that’s the case.

States Where Residents Leave Things Up to Chance the Most

  1. Iowa With a chance-taking score of 74.5 out of 100, Iowa leads the pack. Residents from the Hawkeye State double down with confidence. 14% report being “likely” to place a significant amount of money on a single bet. Additionally, if they were to come into a large sum of money unexpectedly, only 6% would save a significant portion.
  2. Idaho Coming in second with a score of 70.8, Idahoans demonstrate a fairly fearless approach to life, especially their work life. A whopping 55% would “likely” switch careers, even if it meant starting over in a new field entirely, 71% would happily move abroad for a dream job if needed, and 22% would take out a large loan to start their own business.
  3. Oregon Ranking third with a score of 66.7, Oregonians exhibit a penchant for adventure as they take the most chances when it comes to travel. 65% of Oregonians would likely take a trip abroad without any travel companions, and over one-third would gladly travel for an extended period of time without having any accommodations lined up ahead of time.
  4. Washington With a score of 64.6, Washington shares the Pacific Northwest chance-taking travel bug with Oregon. When planning trips, 47% of Washington residents might plan a few activities but like to leave the bulk of their experience in unplanned exploration. 23% say the lowest star rating they’d accept for a hotel on a trip would be 1 or 2 stars, among the highest percentage accepting that low of a rating in our study.
  5. Virginia Rounding out the top five on our chance-taking scale with a score of 64.2 is Virginia. Residents display a readiness to take their chances on a few fronts. 17% would purchase a home they wanted without seeing it in person first, over 80% happily try exotic foods when they can, and nearly 60% would go bungee jumping or skydiving.

States Where Residents Leave things Up to chance the Least

  1. Missouri – Scoring a mere 17.5 out of 100, Missouri residents are the least inclined to take chances, both big and small. 72% would be “unlikely” to swipe their credit card if they thought there was even a chance it would be declined, and 82% would be reluctant to invest in high-risk, high-reward real estate markets, among the highest percentages in the study.
  2. ConnecticutWith a score of 26.3, Connecticut ranks second in chance-avoidance. Residents tend to exhibit financial prudence as 83% would be uncomfortable investing in high-risk assets like volatile stocks or cryptocurrencies, and 79% of residents have a fund set aside in case of emergencies, a much higher percentage than most other states. Additionally, 75% would never even consider skydiving (a larger percentage than in any other state).
  3. Pennsylvania – Coming in third with a score of 28.2, Pennsylvanians are wary of leaving things to chance, especially in the real estate market. 90% would be unwilling to take on a mortgage with variable interest rates for lower initial payments, and only 7% would have any level of interest in investing in high-risk real estate opportunities.
  4. Massachusetts With a score of 28.8, Massachusetts residents lean towards security in their work-related decision-making. 55% of Massachusetts residents would never consider moving abroad for their dream job and 53% have never once quit a job without already having another one lined up, both among the highest percentages in the study.
  5. Tennessee Ranking fifth with a score of 33.6, Tennessee residents dislike leaving things up to chance in different aspects of their lives. For example, if they came into a large sum of money, 35% of Tennesseeans would put every penny of it into savings, 45% would never even consider traveling abroad alone, and the lowest star rating an accommodation can have for 30% of them would be 4 stars.

Next, we’ll take a look at Americans as a whole to discover where chances are being taken most often.

Where Are Americans Willing To Take a Chance?


Whether it’s demonstrating financial prudence, taking chances on big career moves, or just wanting to be involved in adrenaline-pumping activities, let’s examine where Americans are most likely to take their chances.One-third of Americans do not have a separate fund set aside in case of emergencies. Whether by choice or necessity, that’s a pretty big chance that people are taking on a daily basis.

When it comes to big career moves, Americans are pretty split on when to seize an opportunity to let it fall by the wayside. 57% would happily move to another country for a great career opportunity, but only 43% would switch careers if it meant starting over in a new field completely. Beyond that, six in ten have quit a job before without having another one lined up—a pretty big chance to take on its own!

When it comes to more traditional chance-taking activities, Americans are slightly less likely to take them. Only 41% of Americans would be interested in thrill-seeking activities like bungee jumping or skydiving.

These insights offer a glimpse into America’s chance-taking landscape, showing us that we balance caution with a serious spirit of adventure. Taking big chances, like all things, is best done in moderation!

Closing Thoughts

Whether you’re taking big-time chances in Iowa or demonstrating a more restrained lifestyle in Missouri, our exploration into the chance-taking tendencies of Americans has shown that attitudes vary widely across the nation. While some prefer a slight thrill in everything from their career to their travel plans, others opt for more security. 

At BetMGM, understanding chance goes beyond the gambling table—it’s about connecting with our audience on a deeper level. By delving into the broader concept of risk-taking in everyday life, we aim to engage our core audience of thrill-seekers and chance enthusiasts. Whether it’s rolling the dice at the casino or embracing new opportunities in life, BetMGM is here to celebrate the thrill of taking chances.

At BetMGM, understanding chance goes beyond the table games—it’s about having fun and embracing the unknown in every aspect of your life. The next time you feel like it’s time to see if the odds are in your favor, try out our casino, poker, or slot games that you can play from the comfort of your home.


To determine the states most prone to taking chances, we surveyed over 2,200 people from 44 U.S. states and asked them a series of questions to gauge their likelihood of taking chances. Our questions were divided into five categories (finance, career, travel, real estate, and lifestyle).

We assigned values to the answer choices for each question we asked and averaged every state’s responses together. We scaled that number from 0 to 5 to create a ‘score’ for each question. The higher the state average was for chance-taking, the higher their score was. We then summed all the scores to determine the states that leave it up to chance the most.

Our questions were Likert-style, scenario-based, and binary yes/no. The scores are based on scaling each question from the least to the most daring answer choices.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.