Luck is a funny thing. Some people see serendipity everywhere and seem confident that good fortune will always smile upon them. Others feel like no matter what they do, obstacles and disappointment will follow.
What does it take to catch a lucky break? We surveyed 2,087 people in Canada and the U.S. to find out more about perceptions of luck. Specifically, when it comes to gambling, who is feeling lucky? The results are pretty surprising.
luck by location
Who's feeling lucky? U.S. West Coast residents were the most likely to consider themselves lucky, with 21.7% categorizing themselves that way.
On the other hand, Canadians were the least optimistic: Only 6.5% said they're “pretty lucky,” while 38.7% professed they have “terrible luck.”
New Englanders and Rocky Mountain residents were less inclined to believe in luck, with 63.3% and 64.8% respectively choosing neither option – and describing their luck as “about average.”
LUCK BY ETHNICITY
Is there a connection between luck and ethnicity? Historically, minority groups have often found the deck stacked against them in politics and economics. But when it comes to gambling, the picture is very different.
Native Americans and members of Canada's First Nations were most likely to describe themselves as lucky, with 41% choosing that description. Almost a quarter of Asian people or Pacific Islanders described themselves as lucky, and 17% of black or African-American people said they're pretty lucky. However, white people felt the least lucky – only 11.3% consider themselves lucky.
LUCK AND CASINO VISITS
How does feeling lucky affect casino visits? The survey uncovered some interesting regional differences. People from the West Coast go to casinos more often than residents of any other region, leading the continent in playing both slot machines and table games.
When folks from the Midwest go to casinos, they're more likely to put their faith in chance -- sticking to slot machines and bypassing the tables. People from the Rocky Mountains region put a bit more emphasis on skill. They ranked second in playing card and dice games, but seventh in playing casino slot machines.
Canadians and residents of U.S. territories spend less time in casinos than people in the U.S.
LUCK AND GAMBLING FREQUENCY
How often do lucky people gamble? People who consider themselves “pretty lucky” are more than twice as likely to engage in all forms of gambling than people who believe they have average or terrible luck.
More than a third of survey respondents who consider themselves “pretty lucky” said they buy lottery tickets at least once a week. More than a quarter gamble online at least once a week. More than a fifth visit a casino at least once a week, and almost 15% go to a racetrack at least once a week. Numbers were much lower for people who don't believe they have Lady Luck on their side.
Gambling is popular across all age groups, ethnicities, and regions. But it's especially popular among people who expect good things to happen and generally feel lucky. Here are just a few of the intriguing insights our survey uncovered:
- Almost twice as many people said they have “terrible luck” as called themselves “pretty lucky.”
- Geographically speaking, U.S. West Coast residents feel the luckiest, while Canadians feel the least lucky.
- When it comes to ethnicities, Native Americans and members of Canada's First Nations feel the luckiest, while white people feel least optimistic about their odds.
- U.S. West Coast residents spend the most time in casinos, while Canadians and residents of U.S. territories spend the least.
- People who feel lucky are likelier to engage in all forms of gambling and tend to gamble more than twice as frequently as people who don't feel as lucky.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Are Canadians really less lucky than Americans? Why is there such a big difference in sentiment on opposite sides of the border? Share your opinion now...
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We conducted a survey of 2,087 people from the U.S. and Canada between Feb. 11 and Feb. 24, 2016.
Feel free to share the images found on this page freely. When doing so, please attribute the authors by providing a link back to this page, so your readers can learn more about this project and the related research.