One in 10 Pennsylvanians Now Gamble Online

A general view of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Justin Berl/Getty Images/AFP

A new report suggests that one in 10 adults in Pennsylvania is actively participating in online gambling. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) for the study. They commissioned researchers at Penn State University to poll 1,158 adults across the state on their online gaming activity.

The study found that 10% place iGaming bets on an ongoing basis. iGaming typically refers to online casino gaming, but it can also relate to online sports betting DFS, or specific lottery games. It suggests that around 1 million adults in Pennsylvania regularly bet online.

Gauging the Trends

The study was required as part of 2017 legislation that paved the way for online casinos to launch in the Keystone State. Online sportsbooks followed in 2019 after the federal sports wagering ban was overturned. “This report will assist DDAP in its mission to assess and address how gambling behaviors impact compulsive and problem gambling within the commonwealth,” said Secretary Jen Smith.

“We want to ensure we are offering all the resources we can at the state level to anyone who may be experiencing problem gambling behaviors. “Knowing the current iGaming trends in the state will help DDAP make informed decisions and help to spread awareness that treatment and resources are available to help when this recreational hobby becomes a more serious problem.”

The study will continue to run on an annual basis, allowing the researchers to track gambling rates in the Keystone State. Around $5 million per year from online gambling profits goes towards problem gambling awareness, education, and treatment programs.

“Penn State is enthusiastic about this partnership,” said Dr. Glenn Sterner, assistant professor of criminal justice at Penn State University. “By collecting these data on a yearly basis, we can ensure an accurate understanding of the impact of this policy change on our Pennsylvania communities. If interventions are required, this assessment will help to guide a data-driven response.”

Two-Thirds of Online Gamblers in Pennsylvania Are Men

The survey found that sports betting is the most popular form of online gambling in Pennsylvania. Around half of all online gamblers bet on sports. Pennsylvania is one of just six states with legal online casino gaming and sports betting, along with Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

In Pennsylvania last year, online casinos generated $1.1 billion in revenue. A further $340 million in revenue came from sports betting, with the majority coming from online sportsbooks. The survey found that 67.8% of online gamblers were men.

The average age was 38. More than half had college degrees. On average, the gamblers spent $219 per week, and they spent 5.8 hours per week on average at gambling websites.

“The findings of the report emphasize the PGCB’s long-standing priority in assisting individuals who develop compulsive gambling issues including our efforts to provide information and effective tools such as the PGCB’s Self-Exclusion programs,” said Elizabeth Lanza, director at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling Director.

“I also believe that findings in this and subsequent reports can provide critical information to prevention professionals and to those in the treatment community who are assisting individuals on their path to recovery.”