Global motivations and attitudes towards online gambling — YouGov Report 2021

According to the international public opinion and market research company YouGov, the COVID-19 pandemic, key market deregulation, and innovation have fueled new heights in online gambling. Through a recent survey of respondents in Great Britain, the United States of America, India, and ten other countries, the firm has revealed that online gambling is on the march this year. Grab a cup of coffee and continue reading to learn more about the current motivations and attitudes towards online gambling across the world.

Global motivations and attitudes towards online gambling

YouGov asked 17,300 respondents in 13 countries some motivational and attitudinal questions and published their responses. 17% of the respondents were online gamblers in the past 12 months. Concerning their motivation, two in five online gamblers said that they are motivated to participate in online gambling for money because it is a fun thing to do. There are similarities in the top motivators across respondents based on the type of online gambling they engage in. Expectedly, fantasizing about winning is the main (#1) motivation for people who play the lottery (42%), followed by gambling for enjoyment and playing to win large amounts of money. Whereas for those who play online slots, the top motivator (#1) is that it is a fun thing to do (53%), followed by fantasizing about winning and playing to win big. The table below shows the top three motivators amongst online gamblers who play the following seven types of online gambling.

Lottery Draw Sports Bingo/Keno Online Slots Poker Esports Fantasy Sports
#1 Motivator Fantasize about winning

(42%)

Fun thing to do 

(57%)

Fun thing to do 

(50%)

Fun thing to do

(53%)

Fun thing to do

(61%)

Fun thing to do 

(55%)

Fun thing to do

(47%)

#2 Motivator Fun thing to do 

(38%)

Enhance my experience 

(34%)

Fantasize about winning

(39%)

Fantasize about winning 

(37%)

Enhance my experience

(33%)

Enhance my experience 

(38%)

Play to win big

(39%)

#3 Motivator Play to win big

(35%)

Fantasize about winning

(26%)

Play to win big

(34%)

Play to win big

(36%)

Play to win big 

(32%)

Play to win big

(38%)

Enhance my experience 

(33%)

In response to whether they prefer online gambling to offline gambling, amongst those that have attempted the online option, a global average of 63% of them prefer online to the traditional in-person alternative. The highest preference for betting online to offline was in India (76%) and was followed by Great Britain (70%), while the lowest was in Singapore (56%). It is surprising that in a country like Singapore, where online gambling is illegal but with a few exceptions, as high as 56% of respondents who have tried online betting prefer it to the offline option. The chart below shows the share of preferences amongst the respondents who have gambled online since the COVID-19 pandemic in the 13 countries surveyed.

offline gambling
As to the issue of gambling legality and regulation, globally, 23% of the respondents agreed with the assertion that online gambling should be prohibited, while 33% were undecided, and 44% disagreed. In other words, more people clearly want governments to legalize gambling (including online gambling) than those who outrightly object to it. Besides, where there is more consensus – and where regulators and operators should be much more attentive – is the question of what should be done about problem gambling. The majority of the respondents (57%) were of the opinion that gambling firms (including gambling operators) do not approach the issue of problem gambling with the high level of seriousness it demands and that governments need to do more to protect gamblers’ well-being (44% of the respondents). The distribution of their opinions to the respective questions asked is as shown in the chart below.

gambling
Furthermore, the respondents (gamblers and non-gamblers) were asked about their opinions regarding gambling legality, tightness of gambling rules, protection of gamblers by governments, and the attitude of gambling firms toward problem gambling. While non-gamblers have the highest support for the banning of online gambling (46%), only a few of them (10%) agree that online gambling companies care about their customers’ well-being. However, gamblers do not share significant differences in their opinions, as shown in the chart below.

regulations
Since the attitudes and opinions of voters often influence gambling legislation, what does this report mean for gambling operators? This simply means that for gambling operators to sustain business operations, they need to work hard to persuade (and better still, convince) the public that they are doing more to help gamblers avoid getting addicted to gambling or engaging in problem gambling which causes harm to the player’s psychological and physical well-being.

The International Gambling Report 2021 published by YouGov is a significant update on the motivations and attitudes of online gamblers and the trends in the online gambling industry since the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone knows that the pandemic with its associated lockdowns and social distancing rules (amongst other control measures implemented by governments and companies) brought strategic changes and innovations to business operations in almost all industries. The online gambling industry is amongst those that have seen a boom and more technological innovations (for customer engagement) in 2021. Meanwhile, governments have been putting more effort towards regulating the industry, with European examples like Norway and Germany making the headlines. Likewise, the boom in this industry did not escape the attention of the gambling and non-gambling public, even as we see the motivations for different types of online gambling and rising acceptance of online gambling across the world.

In conclusion, a more pragmatic approach to ensuring responsible gambling is what the general public wants today. Gamblers and non-gamblers are asking online casino firms and operators to do more to prevent problem gambling. They also want governments to put more effort into protecting gamblers. Therefore, all key stakeholders in the online gambling industry must take this report seriously and make more meaningful efforts to persuade the public to support their activities.

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