Few generations have had quite as much written or discussed them as millennials. And, depending on where you get the information from, those opinions include some real extremes. On one hand, it’s a generation that has had it far harder than Gen X and Baby Boomers which preceded them. On the other, they are a wasteful group who squander their cash on buying expensive foods like smashed avocados and designer coffees when they could be getting a foot on the property ladder instead.
But something that is beyond dispute is that this is a generation that is quite unlike any that has come before, or after.
The general definition of a millennial is someone born between the years 1981 and 1996. So the oldest are now entering their 40s with the youngest in their mid-20s. This wide range of ages may have something to do with the greatly differing opinions that people hold about them.
What they all have in common is that they have been brought up in a more technological age than ever before. Previous generations not only had to cope with life without the internet, but the range of entertainment available to them was also much more limited. Games were board games and screen entertainment was limited to the TV and the movies.
So the wealth of opportunities open to millennials has meant that their entertainment horizons are wider than any earlier generation’s ever was – and entertainment providers have been quick to capitalize on this.
Betting comes into play
Traditionally, the millennial mindset has always been to seek the new and abandon much of the old. So if you mention going to a bricks-and-mortar casino don’t be surprised if it’s met with a roll of the eyes. You might just about encourage a few outliers to join you for an ironic evening of fun, but this will definitely be the exception.
But there is a form of betting that millennials have adopted with great keenness – online gambling in its various guises whether it’s on games like roulette and poker or betting sporting events. This has a great deal to do with the evolution of the online casinos which first started appearing just as the games industry was starting to take off as well as the more recent arrival of online sportsbooks.
In the case of online casinos, it came as no surprise that video games became something of a template for online casino operators. After all, both try to replicate real or imagined, events and scenarios in a digital context.
So, as a generation raised on video gaming, a high proportion of millennials see online casinos as a form of video gaming that can actually win the cash. Some research has even found that a significant number see it as a viable side-hustle to make some cash to bolster their earnings from their day jobs. This might not always turn out to be a reality, but the perception is there.
Add to this an increasingly welcoming environment in the US towards online betting and it’s easy to see why more and more millennials are starting to indulge in the activity of gambling.
The sporting breakthrough
One very significant event came in May 2018 when the US Supreme Court ruled that individual states should be allowed to legalize sports betting. Over the three years that followed, it has led to many online sportsbooks being set up in the United States, creating the perfect conditions for millennials to get even more into betting.
After all, this is a generation that consumes a great deal of its entertainment online, including big sporting events like the Super Bowl and baseball’s World Series. Last year it was estimated that sports betting in the U.S. amount to about $150 billion a year, with betting on the NBA playoffs and the Super Bowl attracting a huge amount of interest. The fact online betting is now so accessible is sure to have had an impact on this figure, the fact millennials can now bet online, while also watching the match adds convenience. It’s also one of the reasons that 55% of sports fans between the ages of 20 and 38 years of age say that they often bet on sporting events today.
The role of social media
Millennials’ heavy use of social media is another contributing factor to their involvement in sports betting. Not only are they likely to follow particular athletes more closely than ever before, the sportsbooks are also very active across all of the major channels.
So this exposes the generation to inside information that can help with their betting decisions and is a means to offer them incentives and bonuses for picking certain sportsbooks.
Looking to the future
So it would seem that betting is now pretty much hard-wired into the millennial generation, something that is likely to continue. Far less certain is whether the Gen Zers who have come after them will become quite so keen on the activity. But that’s a question for another day.