Study Shows One in Five Men Risk 25% of their Paycheck on Sports Betting

Mobile Betting


  • 61% of self-identified sports bettors said they bet either daily or weekly
  • Men that make $100-150k were the most likely to risk large chunks of their paycheck betting on games
  • Over one-fifth of sports bettors say they regret every getting involved with gambling

Men’s Health published a new piece in its series about sports betting and gambling addiction Tuesday. In the article, they revealed a number of different gambling trends among American men.

61% of respondents that indicated they bet on sports said that they did so daily or weekly. On top of that, four in five said that they spend up to six hours per day on various online sportsbooks or sports betting mobile apps.

The telling data shows that despite the intentions of local lawmakers and the best efforts of the sportsbooks, addictive gambling behaviors are prevalent even in “normal” sports bettors.

Results revealed

Men’s Health gathered 3,800 American men to participate in the survey. 1,500 (just under 40%) identified as sports bettors that had placed at least one wager in the last 365 days.

76% said that they utilized online sportsbooks to place their bets. Surprisingly, DraftKings was the most popular landing spot for the group with 61% of the support. 56% said they used FanDuel (the American market leader), and 31% said they placed wagers with BetMGM.

“Bankroll management” is a common term in the sports betting industry. It refers to budgeting money so that a user doesn’t spend more than they can afford if their bets miss.

According to Men’s Health, almost 20% of the 1,500 self-identified sports bettors were willing to or had foregone bankroll management and risked up to a quarter of their paycheck on the books. The allure of winning massive payouts won out over the recommended pragmatism.

But while the first reaction might be to assume that minimum-wage workers are the ones gambling large portions of their income to try to improve their situation, that proved not to be the case. Men’s Health said that an unspecified majority of men that are in debt from sports betting make $100-150k per year.

Sports betting has also affected the mentality of these people. Two-thirds of people say they became more likely to wager on sports after they downloaded a mobile app, and 44% said they have difficulty watching a sporting event without also wanting to place a bet.

Mental effects

There have been various studies about the long-term effects of gambling. The results have all shown that, if handled improperly, a variety of negative long-term effects and traits have a tendency to reveal themselves.

28% of sports bettors from the poll said that they have given serious consideration to walking away from sports betting. Over half said their primary reason was because of a decline in their general mood, 43% said they were less productive, 34% said it affected their relationships, and 18% said it was destroying their life.

The number-one tactic sportsbook operators use to attract and retain patrons is to offer promotions. These can be as simple as “bet $5 to win $200” or “win 10% more with this token” or as complex as “win back 25% of your stake if your same-game parlay misses by one leg.”

Regardless of the form they take on, nearly half of sports bettors in the survey said they believe that sports betting advertisements and promotions have fostered compulsive gambling behaviors. 34% said that there should be fewer betting commercials during sports games, and 38% said that commentators should not perform live odds reads.

General health has also taken a hit because of sports betting. 58% of the gambling group said their mental health had deteriorated since they began betting on sports, and 43% said it worsened their physical health as well.

Overall, 21% of the group said they regretted getting into sports betting.

Sports betting is not a viable form of long-term income and should never be viewed as anything other than a form of entertainment. A variety of resources are available to anyone struggling with negative influences, including sportsbooks’ live chat, anonymous hotlines, and physical locations.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.