Compared to slot machines, sports betting is a skill game — but how skillful?
According to a study cited by the Chicago Sun-Times, these days a solid majority of sports bettors view it as a side hustle. “60% of respondents said they bet on sports to earn extra income,” said the report.
While that’s the aim of 6-in-10 bettors, the report stated that another survey question showed that many bettors aren’t able to actually make it work. “75% of respondents reported breaking even,” the report stated.
The survey seems to square with a late 2020 survey asking a similar question.
A survey from Whistle Wise Quantitative Research of 470 people aged 21-34 found that 76% see gambling on sports as a “form of entrepreneurship.”
Younger sports bettors appear to be more likely to view sports betting as a game of skill. Gaming revenue information from the gambling capital of America backs some of this up.
Over the 12 most recent months in Nevada, casinos and their sportsbooks held 4.8% of the handle in the form of winnings. That hold percentage is the lowest among all of the house-banked casino offerings. (There’s no hold percentage for poker.)
Still, the perception of the ability to win in the long run at sports betting is far higher than it is in reality. Legal sports betting outside of Nevada only became a thing after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, so the long run hasn’t really arrived for most American sports bettors.
Some estimate that just 3% of sports bettors are profitable in the long run.