MagnifyMoney recently released a new report of study findings during the pandemic, focused on vices. As an online personal finance website subsidiary of LendingTree, MagnifyMoney was able to discover that Americans are spending money on vices during the pandemic, spending on average around $950. The top three vices are alcohol, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. The study also showed that many players took to online gaming during the pandemic, especially in states where online gambling is legalized.
According to Devon Delfino of MagnifyMoney, stress, and spending has always been linked. The pandemic was a time when citizens in the United States were more open to spending money on vices. A total of 31% of Baby Boomers are spending money on lottery tickets while 30% of Gen X were reported on the list. For millennials, around 25% purchased a lottery ticket in the last year.
When it comes to online gambling in the United States, there has been an overall increase in activity. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the markets are quite large, and players have taken to table games and slots at a much higher rate than pre-pandemic.
The research revealed that as players are staying home, they are relying on online gambling for entertainment. This is due to lack of options outside the home or fear of traveling outside the home due to the threat of the virus.
When it comes to online gambling, one in five millennials are reported to have placed a wager online. for Gen Xers, around 12% were gambling. Gen Zers are logging on at around 9% and only 5% of Baby Boomers are using online casinos to wager.
As land-based casinos started to close up shop due to the COVID-19 spread, players leaned on online gambling services. In 2020, New Jersey saw an increased gross gaming revenue total by over 50%. Online gaming sites won $931.5 million last year. In Pennsylvania, online casinos earned $556.7 million.
Unfortunately, the study also found that around four out of 10 Americans are using money from savings to pay for vice spending. During the pandemic, many Americans had to rely on savings for spending in general as well as government programs to have enough money to pay rent, buy food, and other necessitates.
Researchers are encouraging anyone who has gambled with savings and may have a problem such as addiction to seek help from professionals.