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PA Online Gambling Study Details Most Common Gambling Problems

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on March 29, 2023
Man Playing Pennsylvania Online Casino Has Problem Gambling

Finding from a Pennsylvania Online Gambling Report shows a decline in the number of people reporting gambling-related problems. 

The Research Center at Penn State University conducted the report. Report findings show that the number of online gamblers reporting at least one problem dropped to 36.5% in the fiscal year 2021-2022. In FY 2020-2021, 43.9% of online gamblers reported at least one gambling problem.

This is the second year Penn State has conducted the study. The research is supported by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs (DDAP), which stated that online gambling remained stable as problem gambling decreased.

Pennsylvania online gambling research findings

Penn State conducted the study using 39,179 random cellular and landline numbers from a directory list. Research shows that of the numbers dialed; there was a 10.9% response rate. The total number of participants was 1,953. 

It’s important to note that all the survey responses were unverified and voluntary. As a result, there can be massive differences between what people say they do over a phone call and what they actually do. 

According to the report, the most commonly reported problem was attempting to cut down, control or stop gambling at 26.5%Additional findings included:

  • 9.9% of people have gambled longer than they intended 
  • 9.7% have gambled more significant amounts of money to feel excitement

As with other legal jurisdictions in the US, online sports betting remains the preferred gambling method for Pennsylvanians at 54%. Other popular online formats include:

  • Slots: 33.3%
  • Fantasy sports: 31.9%
  • Table games: 20.8%
  • iLottery: 20.4%

Penn State also cataloged the top reported motivators for online gambling — participants could include more than one:

  • Enjoyment: 95%
  • Convenience: 81.5%
  • Availability: 77.9%
  • Ability to bet at own pace: 69.5%
  • To win money: 67.8%

Demographic breakdown of a PA online gambler

According to the results of the study, the breakdown of a typical online gambler in Pennsylvania is as follows:

  • Gender: Male (66.1%)
  • Average age: 38
  • Race/Ethnicity: White (72.9%)
  • Employment: Employed (62.6%)
  • Marital status: Married or living with a partner (43.5%)
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree (36.3%)
  • Income: $75,000 to $99,999 (14.6%) – 19% preferred not to answer

Researchers said next year’s study would include improving questions, including covering more gambling behaviors. Some questions will revolve around video games and cryptocurrency. The study will also add an online portion to the survey. 

Pennsylvania gaming board supports continued gambling research

In a statement, Elizabeth Lanza, PGCB Director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, said:

“The PGCB applauds the legislature for including the requirement of creating an annual impact report when they expanded gambling in Pennsylvania. It is vital that we explore and analyze the trends and risks that are captured annually within these reports.

Organizations, including the PGCB, can create new tools and modify existing programs to align with report findings to better serve those who are experiencing problems with their gambling behavior. We are incredibly grateful to DDAP and PSU for their ongoing effort in conducting research and creating this report. Additionally, we would like to thank the gaming industry for their support of this project.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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