Gambling Sentiments

The question of whether or not millennials gamble is an open-ended one. Pew Research found that state casino gambling revenue is down; the bottom line: The younger generation is shunning the same games of chance that captivated their parents and grandparents. Millennials demand fair gaming and seek interactive experiences that allow them to use skill and finesse. And casinos may need to adapt to best suit these social techies.

60 percent of all Instagram users are between the age of 18 and 34, so examining gambling trends on Instagram may grant insight into the thoughts of millennials. Using a sentiment analysis tool – which identifies positive and negative statements, feelings, and opinions within text – we examined gambling-related hashtags on Instagram. Tracking the prevalence of the positive and negative words people used helped us determine the general feelings behind gambling posts and to get an idea of millennial sentiment toward this brand of gaming. Keep reading to see what we discovered.


Categorizing Gambling Love on Instagram

The above graph reflects the average sentiment score of the Instagram posts we analyzed. A score between zero and one is positive, while a score between zero and negative one is regarded as a negative score. In our analysis of the Instagram gambling hashtags, we found that – overwhelmingly – Instagram users thought positively of gambling. We found 33,926 Instagram hashtags that were construed as positive, compared to 9,636 that were negative, and 8,309 that were neutral. (Note: We could not determine the sentiment of 4,776 posts.)

Looking at the actual hashtags that carried the highest sentiment score has yielded interesting results. For example, the two gambling hashtag categories that yielded the most positive average sentiment scores were “bingo” and “slots.” 51 percent of millennials and 61 percent of all casino-goers favour slots and video poker as their casino games of choice.

Other categories that yielded high sentiment scores were “World Poker Tour” and “Heartland Poker Tour”.

Gambling Sentiments Map

Worldwide Feelings on Gambling

The highest sentiment scores were found in areas where gambling constitutes a major portion of the culture or economy. See Catalonia, for example – a Spanish dependency with an instant lottery and casinos that form a large part of the region's GDP. One study suggests that 90.7 percent of its population have gambled. Atlantic City and Northwestern Russia also produce some of the highest sentiment scores toward gambling.

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The countries whose population has the highest moral opinion on gambling – France, Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, and Germany – also have the most positive gambling sentiment score among Instagram posts. Negative sentiment scores can be found in countries with citizens who believe that gambling is immoral, such as Chile and Pakistan.

Overwhelmingly, the sentiment toward gambling on Instagram seems to follow the social acceptance of gambling in the posts' originating countries.

Gambling Sentiments States

Feelings on Gambling in the U.S.

In the United States, feelings about gambling tend to play along socioeconomic lines: Areas with high levels of college-educated or high-income individuals tend to be more tolerant of gambling, while more rural and more religious areas tend to be more critical. However, as 13 states do not have any form of casino-based gaming, there are large pockets of the nation where there is no Instagram-related sentiment about gambling – positive or negative.

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Millennials still love to gamble and typically feel good about it, but our examination proves it's a more social experience for them. Slots are still king, but gambling games with a social edge, such as bingo and poker, are becoming the focus. Gambling has changed from something that's luck-focused to a game that requires skill and social interaction. Still the same, social expectations and norms about gambling colour opinions about gambling online.

Comedian Jerry Lewis once said that gambling is part of the human condition. If this is true, then America's love of gaming is unlikely to die anytime soon. How we gamble, however, will change, just as the faces of those gambling will change.



We scraped Instagram for each of the following hashtags related to gambling tournaments: #worldpokertour, #WPTchina, #WPT5D, #WPTalpha8, #WPTmontreal, #WPTfoundation, #WPTprague, #WPTcruise, #WPTchoctaw, #WPTjax, #WPTlegends, #WPTlegendsofpoker, #EPTbarcelona, #EPTmalta, #EPTendirecto, #EPTlive, #hptpoker, #hptpokertour, #hptstl, #hptvb, #worldseriesofpoker, #wsop, #wsop2015, #wsopmainevent, #wsopc, #wsopcircuit, #wsop15, #wsopme, #wsope, #wsopeurope, #wsopapac, #aussiemillions, #2015acop, #acop, #crownpoker, #lapt, #LAPC, #LApokerclassic, #blackjacktournament, #roulettemasters, #slotstournament, #tournevent, #tourneventofchampions, #milliondollarevent, #baccarattournament, and #bingotournament. We then ran the caption of each post through AlchemyAPI to evaluate sentiment and categorized and visualized the results.

Fair Use

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.