Gambling habits of high-earning Brits

Oliver RoweGlobal Sector Head ‑ Leisure & Entertainment
November 26, 2021, 2:16 PM UTC

It’s a widely held belief that lower-income Brits are more likely to gamble, however looking closer at YouGov consumer data, we see that’s not necessarily true in all forms of gambling. 

For starters, our data shows roughly a quarter of Brits whose income is higher than 200% of nation’s median income play Euromillions at least once per month (26%), compared with 23% of middle-income earners and 21% of low-income earners. Overall, the transnational lottery is by far the most popular form of gambling in the UK. 

Data shows not only are they playing more frequently, but they’re also spending more, which comes as little surprise. Our data shows 9% of this high-income group spend at least £100 over the last 12 months. Just 5% of Brits in general spent that much in the same time period. 

Online sport betting is also popular among this top-earning group -- our data shows 12% placed a bet on a sporting event at least once per month, again more likely than middle- (9%) and low-income earners (7%). Separate YouGov variables show the nation’s wealthy population is more likely to feel that betting helps them feel more engaged with sports they like (16% vs. 14% of all British adults). Spending data shows 6% of wealthier Brits put down at least £100 on online bookmakers, compared to 4% of Brits overall.  

Beyond Euromillions and sport betting, high-income earners are less likely to gamble by other means. The People’s Postcode Lottery, a lotto using a monthly subscription model, is played at least once a month by 13% of Britain’s low-income population, compared to 11% of middle and high-earners. 

The National Lottery scratchcards are most popular among those in the middle-income bracket (11%), slightly more so than among low- (9%) and high-income earners (7%). 

Looking now to slots and other games online, there is little difference between income levels: 4% of those making well above the median income play them, marginally more than 3% of those in low- and middle- income brackets. 

Thunderball is most popular among lower-income Brits at 8%, compared with 7% of middle-income and 4% of high-income households. 

Rounding out our list of activities is online Bingo and Health Lottery, around which we see little deviation between income levels. 

High-income attitudes around risk and gambling 

Let’s look a little closer at attitudes around gambling among richer Brits. 

It comes as little surprise that high-income Brits have a stronger stomach for risk. Continuously collected YouGov data shows how risky consumers feel they are in general by asking them where they land on a scale from zero to ten, zero being unwilling to take risks and 10 meaning fully prepared to do so. We see Brits reporting an income higher than 200% of the nation’s median have a stronger appetite for risk with 31% placing themselves seven and above on our scale. This is compared to those in a lower income bracket and making less than 75% of the nation’s median where only 23% score seven and above. This of course is to be expected as higher levels of disposable income allow for greater tolerance levels for risk when making financial decisions. Consumers who give themselves a risk score of seven or higher are more likely to take part in all gambling activities. 

Many Brits may see gambling as an investment to improve their current living conditions. Interestingly, wealthy Brits are less likely to believe success in the UK is the result of hard work rather than good fortune (42% vs. 44% of Brits in general). This statistic suggests many financially comfortable Brits do believe good fortune – like perhaps winning the lottery – can lead to prosperity.