Betting that if it’s built, they will come

Paige Schoenfeld examines the generation barriers for sports gambling. Her vice: Horse racing.

The author(s)

  • Paige Schoenfeld Director, Canada
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Sports gambling hasn’t had the greatest reputation in popular culture. Bets happened in clandestine telephone booths or dark, smoky back rooms. Online gambling first grew its roots through gray market sources.

However, perceptions are improving, as sports betting and online gambling become legalized throughout Canada and in pockets of the U.S., with some regulatory strings attached. But a change in perceptions is not happening as quickly as some would like. As we’ve seen in the rest of this issue, just because something becomes legal, or becomes less of a vice, doesn’t mean the market is suddenly ready to embrace it with open arms. Nor does it mean that people immediately understand the new laws and regulations or, more importantly, the products and offerings themselves.

Ipsos research shows that barriers exist for the adoption of online betting, the modern vehicle to place a sports bet today. This syndicated research that measures attitudes and usage in the U.S. and Canada highlights that trust in online gambling sites is very low – not a surprise, given that the average Canadian has access to only one legal and regulated online gambling website. Financial concerns are a factor as well, which is consistent with any form of gambling. Ipsos looked at how barriers to online play differed across generations. Younger generations, for example, were much more likely to reject gambling in general or, alternatively, not know where to start.

All of this points to opportunities for gaming and lottery companies to educate people on the ins and outs of the industry and the rules in each state or province. Taking a role in that education has the additional benefit of helping to foster much needed trust between brand and customer.

This article was originally published in What the Future, a quarterly deep dive into different aspects of consumer and social thought and behavior. Each edition features exclusive new data from world-leading research firm Ipsos. WTF explores how a single industry or behavior fits into the broader culture now and in the coming decades.

Chart: Is online gambling a safe bet?

The author(s)

  • Paige Schoenfeld Director, Canada

Consumer & Shopper