Rising tide of online gambling in Pennsylvania

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Rising tide of online gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has seen a significant surge in online gambling, with a 5 percent increase in the adult population participating in the past year, according to a recent report from Penn State University. The study, titled “Pennsylvania Interactive Gaming Assessment: Online Gambling Report 2023,” provides an in-depth analysis of the state’s online gambling landscape since its legalization in 2017.

The report, a collaboration between Penn State’s Criminal Justice Research Centre and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programmes (DDAP), reveals that 16 percent of adults in Pennsylvania gambled in the 2022-23 fiscal year. This figure represents a 5 percent increase from the previous year and a 4.9 percent rise from 2021’s report.

Online gambling revenues also saw a substantial increase, reaching over $2.1 billion during the 2022-23 fiscal year, a nearly 27 percent rise compared to the previous year. Glenn Sterner, assistant professor of criminal justice at Penn State Abington and lead author of the report, emphasized the importance of understanding the potential impacts of increased online gambling on individuals, families, and communities.

Dual-mode gamblers

The report also sheds light on the gambling habits of different types of players. Those who gambled both online and offline, known as dual-mode players, gambled approximately once a week and spent an average of 14.88 hours gambling per month. In contrast, online-exclusive bettors gambled between two and three times a month, while offline-exclusive gamblers only bet around once a month.

In terms of expenditure, dual-mode players led the pack, averaging $708 a month on betting spend. Online-only bettors placed $617 a month in wagers, while offline-exclusive individuals averaged the least at $103 per month.

Interestingly, the report found that dual-mode players were most at risk of problematic gambling behaviour. Over half of these bettors showed at least one potential problem gambling indicator on the Brief Problem Gambling Screen, a tool used to identify potential issues related to gambling.

Sports betting emerged as the most popular form of online betting among Pennsylvania adults, with 7 percent engaging in it over the last year. Offline betting was dominated by lottery games, with 50.5 percent participation among adults. Dual-mode players showed a preference for electronic gambling machines and instant lottery.

Despite the wide product offerings in Pennsylvania, one of just seven US states to have legalized iGaming, the report identified that illegal gambling continues to persist, with 3.2 percent of respondents admitting to engaging in some form of it.

As online gambling continues to grow in popularity in Pennsylvania, ongoing monitoring and understanding of its potential impacts remain crucial. This comprehensive report serves as a valuable resource in achieving that goal.

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