Today’s most progressive audiences are shaping the future of online gambling

September 29, 2022

What cannabis consumer behavior can tell us about the recent shift of online gambling to mainstream business.

Today’s most progressive audiences are shaping the future of online gambling

Going Mainstream

What happens when categories make the shift from illicit to everyday?

What happens when a category moves from “outside” to the mainstream?

Cannabis and online betting have a lot in common–– two categories that have made the shift from mostly  illicit (yet popular) activities to a highly regulated, mainstream business. 

The transition from illicit to mainstream category is being played out by cannabis and online gambling  over the past two decades.  California was the first state to legalize cannabis in 1996, and New Jersey approved the first online “casino” in 2013. 

Today, 21 states permit online gambling, following behind cannabis, which is  legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia as of 2022.

Rapid Growth

Cannabis consumers exploded from 38 million consumers in 2018, to over 65 million in 2022; now representing one in four of US adults.  In the same period, Gaming surged with 15.3 million more sports bettors and 25.5 million more online gamblers. (NGAGE  2.0 Gaming Survey). 

A Shared Mindset

At the heart of this surge in demand is a very distinct consumer mindset––cannabis consumers and online gaming participants share a unique perspective and lean-in approach to life. 

As cohorts, cannabis consumers and bettors have a significant overlap; more than a third of gamers also consume cannabis and CBD.  Cannabis consumers are 30% to 50% more likely to have already gambled in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and are even more predisposed to online play. In fact, cannabis or CBD consumers are nearly 30% more likely to have placed a bet on sports or fantasy sports in the last 12 months. 

Cannabis consumers and bettors share a very similar outlook on life;  both audiences share an elevated appetite for fun and variety, an appreciation for brands, a tendency for impulse shopping,  and a higher risk tolerance than the average American. 

They’re also more likely to be influencers who share opinions with their social connections, and contrary to stereotypes, are highly motivated work-a-holics. 

Collectively, cannabis and online gamblers have busy lives and big plans––more likely to be starting a business, changing jobs and getting married than the gen pop.


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