The Connection Between Gambling and Social Media

May 31, 2024

The landscape of gambling has significantly evolved with the advent of social media. While many social platforms have limitations regarding advertising online gambling. Social platforms are contributing to the rise of gambling. Platforms like X, formerly Twitter, have not only amplified the reach of bookmakers but also transformed the habits of bettors. With sports betting now legal in 38 states, sports betting continues to grow to staggering levels. In 2023, sports betting rose for the third straight year, to nearly 11 billion. X/Twitter is the biggest culprit in regards to social media and gambling. The immediacy of the platform lends itself to live updates about sports odds and outcomes. 

How Bookmakers Use X/Twitter

Bookmakers have leveraged X/Twitter as a powerful tool for marketing and engagement. By maintaining an active presence, they can reach a broader audience and interact directly with potential and existing customers. Here are some ways bookmakers use X/Twitter:

  • Real-Time Updates: Bookmakers provide real-time updates on odds, game outcomes, and betting opportunities. This immediacy appeals to bettors who seek the latest information to make informed decisions.

  • Promotions and Offers: They frequently tweet about special promotions, bonuses, and free bets to entice followers. These promotions are often time-sensitive, encouraging quick engagement.

  • Content Marketing: Bookmakers share content related to sports news, expert analysis, and betting tips. This positions them as knowledgeable authorities in the betting community, thereby fostering trust and loyalty.

  • Customer Interaction: X/Twitter allows bookmakers to directly address customer queries and concerns, enhancing customer service and satisfaction.

How Bettors Use X/Twitter

Bettors, on the other hand, use X/Twitter as a platform to share insights, gather information, and connect with other enthusiasts. Their usage can be categorized into several activities:

  • Information Gathering: Bettors follow sports analysts, tipsters, and bookmakers to collect data and insights that can inform their betting strategies.

  • Community Building: By participating in discussions and sharing their betting experiences, bettors build a sense of community and camaraderie with like-minded individuals.

  • Live Commentary: During live events, bettors use X/Twitter to share their thoughts and reactions in real-time, often discussing odds fluctuations and betting decisions.

  • Tracking Bets: Some bettors publicly track their betting history and results, creating a transparent record of their performance which can serve both as a personal record and as a way to gain followers.

Sports Betting's X/Twitter Growth

The intersection of sports betting and X/Twitter has seen significant growth over recent years. In 2021, X/Twitter released information regarding sports betting on the platform. The statistics revealed alarming trends:

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

  • Increased Legalization: The legalization of sports betting in various regions has led to more open and enthusiastic discussions on social media platforms.

  • Enhanced Engagement: The interactive nature of X/Twitter allows for constant engagement and the formation of communities centered around sports betting.

  • Influencer Impact: High-profile sports personalities and betting influencers contribute to the popularity and acceptance of sports betting on X/Twitter.

  • Technological Integration: Integration of betting apps with X/Twitter has streamlined the process of placing bets directly from social media links and posts, making it more convenient for users.

Recognize the Signs


While social media enhances the betting experience, it is crucial to recognize the signs of problematic behavior associated with gambling. These signs include:

  • Obsessive Checking: Constantly checking betting odds and results on X/Twitter can indicate an unhealthy obsession.

  • Financial Stress: Placing bets beyond one's financial means and facing significant losses.

  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Prioritizing betting activities over personal and professional responsibilities.

  • Social Withdrawal: Withdrawing from social interactions to focus on betting activities.

Other Social Platforms

Twitch

Twitch banned livestreams of gambling content in 2022 and expanded the ban in 2023. This ban targeted specific online casinos that were livestreaming. This ban stems from a streamer who had scammed users out of  over 200,000 to fund his gambling addiction. After the ban was implemented gambling viewership dropped by 75%

Discord

Discord has several communities dedicated to sports betting. Discord’s policy states that no illegal gambling can happen on the platform. However, discussions on sports betting and picks are shared on the platform. Similar to X/Twitter, Discord allows for real time conversations regarding betting. At this time, however, there are no statistics regarding the number of sports bettors on Discord or how the platform is impacting their betting habits. 

Instagram

Due to the nature of Instagram it doesn’t hold as much sway in the gambling community as X and Discord. That said, the #gambling hashtag returns over 3 million results on Instagram.

Users may opt out of having gambling ads shown to them. However, there are several steps to take to enable this option. This makes it difficult for at risk populations to easily opt out of gambling ads. 

Social Media’s Similarity to Gambling

It’s no surprise that there is a connection between social media and gambling. Social media platforms employ strategies similar to gambling to maintain user engagement and create psychological cravings. Techniques include:

  • Variable Rewards: Like slot machines, social media uses unpredictable rewards to keep users hooked. Notifications and likes are random and infrequent, encouraging users to check their accounts compulsively.

  • Infinite Scroll: The endless scroll feature mimics the continuous nature of gambling, providing an unbroken stream of content.

  • Engagement Algorithms: Algorithms prioritize content that keeps users engaged, much like how casinos design spaces to keep gamblers playing longer.

  • Gamification: Incorporating elements like points, badges, and leaderboards fosters a competitive atmosphere, similar to gambling environments.

Social Media's Relationship with Gambling Remains an Issue

The relationship between social media and gambling remains complex and concerning. While platforms like X/Twitter offer opportunities for community building and information sharing, they also pose risks by normalizing and promoting gambling behaviors. The challenge lies in balancing the benefits with the potential for harm, particularly among vulnerable individuals.

Regulation and awareness are key to addressing these issues. Users should be educated about the risks associated with gambling and social media, and platforms must enforce policies to prevent the promotion of irresponsible gambling practices. By fostering a responsible approach, the benefits of social media in the context of gambling can be enjoyed without succumbing to its pitfalls.

The Future of Social Media and Gambling

As problem gambling increases there are efforts to curb its rise. In the UK, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has made efforts to push social media platforms from advertising to minors and other susceptible groups. 

France has gone a step further. In 2023, French Parliament approved a law targeting influencers, preventing promotion of certain products. This is partially aimed at halting gambling advertising. The law states influencers cannot promote sports betting or gambling. Violating the law carries a hefty fine. 

Finding Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction, help is available. Counseling and therapy services can provide personalized help. Additionally, online resources and support groups offer community and guidance. Taking the first step towards recovery is crucial and support is accessible.

Sources:

States Where Sports Betting Is Legal.

Americans Gambled A Record $66.5 Billion In 2023

36% of Sports Bettors Cite X/Twitter as Their No. 1 Information Source

Social Media's Relationship with Gambling Remains an Issue - Casino.org

Twitch expands its ban on gambling livestreams. It also says viewership of the content is down 75% | AP News

Twitch streamer Sliker admits to $200,000 gambling scam | GamesIndustry.biz

France Blocks Influencers, Athletes from Promoting Gambling, Threatens Jail - Casino.org

X/Twitter’s pitch for gamblers as 46.6m Americans prepare to bet on NFL in 2022 - SportsPro


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