Wall Street Vs Sports Betting

author By Fintan Costello on 06/06/2021


  • Stock investors were more successful than sports bettors, with 64% mainly reporting winnings when investing.
  • Stock investors seemed to be more responsible with their money, as nearly 50% had never invested more than they could afford to lose.
  • Bitcoin Sports Betting: Nearly 3 in 10 people placed a sports bet using cryptocurrency.
  • Millennials are the most likely to believe betting on meme stocks will result in quick returns.
  • Sports bettors were more likely than stock investors to feel confident in getting big returns.

Battle of the Bettors

There are a lot of ways to make money in this world. Aside from their everyday jobs, many people enjoy trying their hand at gambling and investing. Today, we’ll be comparing and contrasting sports bettors and stock investors to try and see if one money-making activity is better than the other.

We surveyed 1,014 people on the matter, asking about their participation in betting and investing and how successful they’ve been in both domains. We also take a look at the rising popularity of crypto-related investment and betting and briefly discuss the impact of meme stocks. Read on to learn more about two very different ways to make money.

The Two Methods

Nine out of 10 respondents reported investing in the stock market, compared to only 55% who had tried their hand at sports betting. Many have dipped their toes into both activities at some point. Sports bettors were a little more reckless with their money, tending to bet over their budget more than stock investors. Millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to participate in both activities, with baby boomers falling slightly behind – a discrepancy that was bigger for sports betting.

Sports vs Stocks Compared

Respondents investing in the stock market seemed to be more responsible with their money, as nearly 50% had never invested more than they could afford to lose. Well over half of the people found sports betting and stock investing to be equally accessible, but 46% thought that it wasn’t so easy to profit from these. To maximize the chances of success, sports bettors should try to not overextend their spending, especially if they’re new to the betting world, and beginner stock investors should set strict budgets and focus on long-term goals.

Investors were a little less comfortable than sports bettors in their ability to effectively assess risk and win big and generally had less knowledge on the subject. That being said, they spent more time researching their craft than sports bettors did. Fourteen percent of sports bettors liked placing bets with local bookies – millennials and baby boomers slightly more so than Gen Xers.

Investing and Betting Motivation

Continuing on the topic of success, stock investors reported more wins than losses in comparison to sports bettors, and sports bettors were more likely to admit that the majority of their investments weren’t recouped. Seeing as stock investors were focused on steady, long-term success, it’s not surprising that they were able to do better financially than sports bettors, who tend to spend their money for the thrill of it.

Wins and Losses of Sports Betting and Wall Street

The most common reason for people to bet on sports was entertainment value, with the potential to make money only a secondary motivation. Stock market investors took a more serious approach, with potential gains being their first priority and long-term investment being their second. It’s now clear why sports fans don’t have as promising a track record, as having fun is what they care about the most. Seeing as there were nearly 46 million people participating in fantasy sports betting in the U.S. in 2019, with a market size of over $8.5 billion, the entertainment factor is clearly enough to keep people engaged in it.

Rise of Cryptocurrencies

Regarding investing in cryptocurrency, over a third of respondents said it was accessible, but 39% said it would be difficult to win this way. Not many people were too confident about their crypto knowledge either, as only a quarter or less were confident in their abilities to assess their risk, get big returns, and generally understand the crypto investment landscape. Millennials were the most likely to make bets using cryptocurrencies. Still, digital currencies are not a very common choice among sports bettors, as only 29% of respondents reported having made a sports bet using cryptocurrency. Stock investors were still less likely to invest using digital cash.

Crypto Sports Betting

There is some upside to betting with crypto, though. The biggest one was the bonuses associated with using cryptocurrencies on betting platforms. For example, many different sites offer welcome bonuses for your first crypto deposit (or for your first handful of them). Each website offers its own unique package, but there are often big incentives for betting with cryptocurrencies. Another major perk of crypto betting is the fact that digital currency is incredibly secure, making it nearly impossible to counterfeit or be tampered with.

The Power of the Internet

A meme stock, as described, gains popularity and influence exclusively from internet clout, and nearly a third of respondents said they would probably invest in one at some point. Millennials were most likely to do so with Gen Xers not too far behind, but far fewer baby boomers were interested in this kind of investment. One of the most recent and famous examples was the skyrocketing of GameStop’s stock price earlier this year – a community on Reddit composed of amateur stock traders influenced countless people to purchase tons of the company’s stock, leading to major ripple effects in the investment market.

Investing in Meme Stocks

Interestingly, sports bettors were more willing to put their money into meme stocks than stock investors, and 43% of all respondents said they believed it would be an effective way to make a quick buck. Once again, millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to agree with this sentiment, while baby boomers were a little more skeptical.

What Lies Ahead

Investing money into the stock market or pouring hard-earned cash into your favorite sports team will never guarantee financial success, but that doesn’t dissuade many people from doing it. In fact, the most common reason that sports bettors do what they do is for entertainment value. On the other hand, stock investors are more focused on financial gain and long-term success. Also, new investment trends and breakthroughs, like the ones being seen involving cryptocurrencies and meme stocks, are shaking up the landscape every day. Sports betting and stock investing may look very different in the future than they do now.

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Methodology and Limitations

We surveyed 1,014 U.S. residents who participate in sports betting or stock investment activities. Among them, 61.4% of respondents were men, 38.5% were women, and 0.1% declined to answer. Ages ranged from 24 to 60 years old with an average age of 38.

For short, open-ended questions, outliers were removed. To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question.

These data rely on self-reporting by the respondents and are only exploratory. Issues with self-reported responses include but aren’t limited to exaggeration, selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and bias. All values are based on estimation.

Fair Use Statement

Whether you’re an avid investor or a prolific sports bettor, there’s a lot to unpack in this article. If you have friends or family members that might get a kick out of it, feel free to send it their way. We just ask that you do so for noncommercial use only and to provide a link back to the original page so contributors can earn credit for their work.

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