The Psychology of Betting [2024 Survey]

min read
Title graphic for a blog about the psychology of betting based on a national survey of bettors
BetMGM Jul 02, 2024, 8:18 PM

 

Table of Contents
What You Could Buy If You Won the Lottery in Every State?
How Big of A Home Would Lottery Winnings Get You?
Closing Thoughts
Methodology

At BetMGM, we understand that betting taps into primal instincts linked to risk-taking and reward-seeking behaviors, which are deeply ingrained in human nature. The thrill of placing a bet and the potential for a reward can trigger powerful responses in the brain, making betting an alluring activity for many individuals.

But what drives people to place bets, and how do regional factors shape their betting habits? In this blog, we explore the psychology behind betting through insights from a national survey. We’ll uncover the motivations behind betting decisions and analyze regional variations in betting behavior.

Inside the Minds of Bettors: What Influences Betting Choices?

Understanding the motivations behind betting decisions can reveal much about human nature. Our survey found:

  • 33% of individuals place bets based on gut feeling or instinct.
  • 31% rely on the analysis of odds and statistics.
  • 24% are driven by the excitement or thrill.
  • 7% are influenced by friends or peers.
  • 43% of bettors say they primarily bet for entertainment.
  • 34% say their primary reason for betting is to make money.

Interestingly, men are more likely to base their decisions on analysis (43% vs. 19% for women), whereas women rely more on their gut feelings (40% vs. 26% for men).

When it comes to managing their betting budgets:

  • Over half of Americans (54%) stick to a predetermined budget.
  • 31% sometimes deviate from their budget.
  • 15% have no budget at all.

Additionally, 39% of bettors use tools or resources to inform their betting decisions, with a higher percentage of men (50%) doing so compared to women (27%).

Reactions to significant losses also vary:

  • 52% of bettors will stop betting temporarily.
  • 28% will decrease their bet amounts.
  • 14% continue as before.
  • 6% increase their bets to try to recover their losses.

Men are more likely than women to continue betting the same amount after a loss (17% vs. 11%). When it comes to reviewing their betting history to improve strategy:

  • Only 11% of bettors do so frequently.
  • 35% occasionally.
  • 30% rarely.
  • 24% never.

Men are more likely to review their betting history (56% occasionally or frequently) compared to women (37%).

How Do Social Influences and Emotions Impact Betting Behavior?

Social influences and emotions play a significant role in betting behavior. Our survey revealed that:

  • 47% of bettors were introduced to betting by friends or family.
  • 44% started betting on their own out of curiosity.

Emotions also have a notable impact:

  • 38% of Americans claim their emotions do not influence their betting decisions.
  • 62% acknowledge some emotional influence.
    • 27% are more likely to bet when bored.
    • 28% when excited.
    • 7% when stressed.

The influence of peers is particularly strong among younger generations. Sixteen percent of Gen Z bettors decide to place a bet due to influence from friends or peers, compared to 6% or less in older generations. Additionally:

  • 69% of Americans say betting enhances their enjoyment of watching sports or other events.
  • 24% say it has no effect.
  • 55% of people bet on live games.
    • 11% do so frequently.
    • Gen Z are the most frequent live bettors (18%).
    • Men are more likely to live bet than women (69% vs. 41%).
How Do Americans Perceive the Risks and Rewards of Betting?

When it comes to perceiving the risks and rewards of betting:

  • Over 9 in 10 Americans consider betting risky.
  • 38% view it as very risky.

When posed with the choice of selecting a higher odds of winning but lower payout bet or a lower odds of winning but higher payout bet:

  • 48% of bettors prefer a higher odds of winning/lower payout bet.
  • 21% prefer a lower odds of winning/higher payout bet.
  • 29% would consider both equally.

There are varied beliefs about the financial outcomes of consistent betting:

  • 30% of bettors believe that consistent betting will increase their monetary earnings.
  • 41% believe it will decrease their earnings.
State-by-State Insights: Where Bettors Win and Lose the Most

 

U.S. map showcasing states that have won and lost the most from betting based on survey results
mobile U.S. map showcasing states that have won and lost the most from betting based on survey results

Betting outcomes vary widely across different regions. To understand these differences, we surveyed respondents from each state about the highest amounts they won and lost from bets. This provides a glimpse at betting behaviors and trends across the country.

States that have Averaged the Highest Amount Won from a Bet

We asked residents from each state about the highest amount of money they’ve ever won from a bet. The states that averaged the highest amounts are:

  • Maine: $2,245
  • Delaware: $2,141
  • Minnesota: $2,065
  • Missouri: $1,888
  • Tennessee: $1,835
States that have Averaged the Highest Amount Lost from a Bet

We also asked residents about the highest amount of their own money they’ve ever lost from a bet. The states with the highest average losses are:

  • Massachusetts: $598
  • Nevada: $311
  • Illinois: $273
  • Florida: $268
  • Texas: $268

Which States are Most Likely to Put it All on the Line?

Betting behaviors differ across the United States, especially regarding the amounts wagered and the risk preferences of bettors. Our survey provides a snapshot of these trends, showing which states are most inclined to take big risks. Check out the interactive table to see how your state compares.

States with the Highest & Lowest Amounts Placed on a Bet

We asked bettors in each state about the highest amount they’ve ever placed on a bet:

  • Massachusetts: Averaged the highest amount placed at $976.
  • Utah: Averaged the lowest amount placed at $38.
Percentage of Bettors Preferring High Risk/High Reward vs. Low Risk/Low Reward

We also inquired whether bettors would choose a high risk/high reward bet or a low risk/low reward bet if posed with the option:

  • New York: Had the highest percentage of bettors preferring high risk/high reward, with 45% choosing this option.
  • Utah: Had the highest percentage of bettors preferring low risk/low reward, with 86% opting for the safer bet.

Closing Thoughts

Exploring the psychology behind betting offers fascinating insights into the factors that shape betting behaviors. By understanding these influences, bettors can approach online casino games with greater mindfulness and awareness of potential risks.

At BetMGM, we are dedicated to supporting our users by offering resources and information that help them make informed betting choices. Whether you’re betting for entertainment or strategy, our platform is designed to enhance your experience. Explore your state’s betting trends, and join us at BetMGM to enjoy a more informed and enjoyable betting journey.

Methodology

Our study was based on responses from 3,180 participants across the United States. For the state-by-state analysis, we ensured a representative sample from each state, though states such as Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming were excluded due to insufficient survey respondents.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
About the Author

BetMGM

Read More

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.