Analysis exhibits the pandemic has fueled vice and gambling spending


Posted on: February 6, 2021, 12:03 pm.

Last update on: February 5, 2021, 5:47 am.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased spending on various vices, including gambling, according to new research.

The 2020 pandemic resulted in Americans spending more money on their trucks. These include alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling, much of which is online due to the state closure of stationary casinos. (Image: Shutterstock)

The report is from MagnifyMoney, an online personal finance website operated by LendingTree. Researchers say the average American adult has spent nearly $ 950 on vice since the pandemic broke out.

Alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets are three of the most important vices. MagnifyMoney surveyed 1,550 Americans and found that 70 percent of consumers spent cash on vices during the pandemic.

Stress and spending have always been linked, and the coronavirus pandemic has made financial vice more alluring to many Americans, ”said Devon Delfino of MagnifyMoney.

Thirty-one percent of Baby Boomers, 30 percent of Gen X and 25 percent of Millennials said they bought a lottery ticket in the past year. The massive jackpots for Powerball and Mega Millions have recently attracted many players.

Online gambling is increasing

According to monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR) reports in New Jersey and Pennsylvania – two states that have internet casinos with slot machines and table games – research shows that many spent some of their time playing online at home.

Every fifth millennial claims to have placed a bet on the internet. 12 percent of Gen Xers, nine percent of Gen Zers and five percent of Baby Boomers.

This is how MagnifyMoney has broken down the generations:

  • Generation Z: 18 to 24 years old
  • Millennial: 25 to 40
  • Generation X: 41 to 55
  • Baby Boomers: 56 to 75

While stationary gaming revenue collapsed in 2020 when governors placed stay-at-home orders and closed unneeded businesses, iGaming flourished.

In New Jersey, GGR online more than doubled, and internet gaming sites grossed $ 931.5 million. Poker rake rose 85 percent to $ 38.8 million. Many Pennsylvanians also went online to gamble. Internet casinos won $ 556.7 million last year.

Only four states had licensed online slot machines and table games last year. Along with New Jersey and Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware regulated iGaming. Michigan's online gaming platforms went live last month.

Financial stability during the pandemic

The MagnifyMoney poll was supposed to show how Americans are handling their finances during the health crisis. Dozens of million people in the country were on leave last year.

MagnifyMoney found that 4 out of 10 Americans used money from their savings accounts to pay for vice expenses.

"People have been bombarded with non-stop stress for the past year and a lot of people have turned to their vices to help them during really difficult times," said Matt Schulz, LendingTree's chief credit analyst. "It's worrying because these vices can often do far more harm than good, but I also fully understand why people resort to them."

Four groups spent more than $ 1,000 on trucks last year. Millennials spent $ 1,258, people made over $ 75,000 a year from their job ($ 1,258), and men in general ($ 1,138). Most worryingly, those who were on leave or laid off spent the highest at $ 1,415.

“If you are using savings and running into debt to pay for one of your vices, it is possible that you are struggling with a very real addiction. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, online shopping, gaming, or something else it is a very serious matter and you should try to get help, ”concluded Schulz.