Has the cost of living increase changed Britain’s betting behavior?
December 7th, 2022, Oliver Rowe

Has the cost of living increase changed Britain’s betting behavior?

Inflation has cut deep into the UK economy, hitting 11.1% last month, a 41-year high. With household budgets stretched, how is this impacting betting behaviour? YouGov polled a nationally representative sample of 2,271 British adults at the end of November to see what those who gamble had changed in their play, if anything.

In total, 31% of monthly bettors (excluding those who only played lottery) have not changed anything, of whom only a small number don’t have any concerns about the increased cost of living anyway.

However, a quarter of all monthly gamblers (24%) say they have decided to bet less frequently. As well as betting less often, we find that one in five (19%) are staking less money. When combining either betting less often or staking less we find that a third (34%) of all monthly gamblers are reducing their activity.

But these aren’t the only options right now and we find that a lot of gamblers are looking for more value from their existing providers or opening new accounts to gain new value. 16% say they are making more use of free bets from existing providers while 11% are looking for more loyalty bonuses. Free-to-play games are also getting more interest with around one in 10 valuing prediction games (10%) and also free slots/casino games (11%) more. Only a small number (8%) say they are opening new accounts to get welcome offers.

A small proportion are changing their betting, by either focusing more on shorter or longer odds (7%), or just spending more time researching their bets (8%). Likewise, a similar number are comparing odds between bookmakers more often (7%).

Men are more likely to say they haven’t changed anything than women (33% vs 28%) but otherwise the actions they have taken are generally very similar. Where we see more differences is by age group. Two-fifths (40%) of those aged 55+ haven’t changed anything compared with only 27% of bettors under 35. The younger gamblers are more likely to be looking out for loyalty bonuses and also to have opened new accounts to get welcome offers. In contrast those aged 35-54 are the most likely to be betting less often (28% vs only 19% of 18-24s) and also to say they are playing more free-to-play slots/casino games. Those aged 55+ lead the way on cashing out more often (11%).

While some may have decided that betting more often, or staking more, might be a way to deal with the cost of living squeeze, it is pleasing to see that this wasn’t mentioned by any survey respondents. The survey did, however, show some limited qualitative evidence of respondents now playing named-charity lotteries to help raise funds for specific good causes.

Looking finally at those that have played the lottery in the last 30 days but have not bet on any other gambling activity, 79% of them are making no changes to their play. Almost one in ten (8%) of them say they are betting/playing less often and 4% are staking less money.

Methodology - YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 24-25 November 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 2,217 adults in Great Britain (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade to be representative of all adults in Great Britain and reflect the latest ONS population estimates. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.  Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.

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