Edition: Available editions Global Perspectives. Become an author Sign up as a reader Sign in. What needs attention is the lack of opportunity that drives sports betting. About 47 million adults in the US are expected to gamble on March Madness this year. A growing share of the bets will actually be legal. New research has found that more than a third of Australian sports gamblers are making micro-bets using offshore operators.
And this type of betting is strongly linked to problem gambling. Studies looking at a cross section of the UK population have long recognised FOBTs as contributors to harmful gambling. With bettors clamoring for an edge, legacy media outlets could add a gambling beat to their daily sports coverage — or risk losing out.
Many states are pondering making gambling on sports legal after the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban. But is the industry really worth as much as some say it is? But those hoping for a boon in tax revenues could be sorely mistaken: Sports betting isn't as lucrative as it's often portrayed to be. Mobile money transfers have been a great asset. But the rise of online betting could threaten its contribution. So I finished the project, brushed it aside and focused on my schoolwork.
I was watching the match between Arsenal and Manchester United last weekend, one in which the home side was generally regarded as an underdog. It really could have gone either way. United hit the woodwork twice in the first half. And did I mention that Tottenham Hotspur was beaten by Southampton the same weekend? As another round of surprising results from the Premier League unfolded, I kept thinking about the algorithm I developed. Would it be able to correctly predict the results on a consistent basis?
There is some inherent randomness in the model, but is it enough to factor for the tantalizing poised nature of the PL, where relegation-zoned Southampton clinched a victory against all-star Tottenham? So I decided to bring it back and back-test.
One of the difficulties of testing an algorithm is to find a good benchmark for its performance. How about comparing my results to professional football pundits? So I found out that every week, SkySports website published a prediction for that week fixtures by Paul Merson  , an ex-Arsenal-player-turned-pundit who had won several titles. Just listen to what Arsenal former manager, Wenger had to say about him:. These debates that I hear are a joke, a farce.
People [Merson] who have managed zero games, they teach everybody how you should behave. No matter what your opinion about him, the prediction of an ex-Arsenal player for the Arsenal-Man United match will surely be more dependable than an obscure model that runs on randomly spitting out numbers. Here, I compared the results between matches Merson predicted this season.
He achieved a The result startled me. And I did not even have to do much besides asking the beloved Poisson processes to chunk out numbers. This is when I started looking into sports betting. If you ever think that the terms and quoted APR on your credit cards are complicated, try venturing into those betting websites once. They are just plain crazy.
Take the US Odds for example. This is fine, but then they have negative odds , like an odds. I mean, they are still using Feet and Fahrenheit anyway. For the purpose of this project, we will use a nicer system: the European Odds. For example, Bet gives an odds of 2. But things are not always nice and simple. In reality, to maximize profit, bookmakers employ teams of data scientists to analyze decades of sports data and develop highly accurate models for predicting the outcome of sports events and giving odds to their advantage.
That extra 2. To get the real probabilities, we need to correct for the profit by dividing through by For a perfectly efficient bookmaker, these are the probabilities of each outcome. The expected profit is the same if I had betted for Man United:. And — you guessed it — if I bet on a draw, I expect to get back 97 cents. This understanding does not stop me from trying to exploit any potential inefficiencies in the market.
At first, I devise the general bet strategies. Implementing the Kelly Criterion is quite simple in R:. However, if we aggregate all the odds from many different betting houses, we should get a better reflection of how bookmakers view the probability of an event, Arsenal defeating Man United for example:.
Obviously, there are inherent risks in this optimal Poisson model. Both Merson and the Poisson-process model and me!!! All in the same weekend!!! Before you clone my Github repo and raise capital for your sports hedge fund, I should make it clear that there are no guarantees.
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One participant described how advertisements presented characters in a positive manner, suggesting that there could be success with gambling and minimizing potential risks. Therefore, the advertisements may influence people to bet by creating a perception that there is a higher chance of winning:. The third sub-theme of promotion characteristics concerned normalization of betting.
Many sports bettors commented on how prevalent and acceptable sports betting had become, especially in the context of football betting and that advertising has contributed to the normalization of gambling. For example, the wide availability of gambling advertisements, including the frequency and type of advertisements, particularly during live football matches, was seen to encourage the idea that sports betting is an activity that was typical for sports fans to take part in and it was heavily connected with the sporting activity.
One participant commented on how they were more likely to pay attention to a gambling advertisement when it was on during a football match. The alignment of the advertisement with the sports being viewed resulted in the advert receiving attention from the participant:.
Some participants also discussed how gambling had become ingrained within the sport, for example:. The content of some advertisements allowed a few participants to feel more comfortable placing a bet, in part due to the relaxed nature of some adverts. Others commented on how there were also positive qualities in the advertisement that were emphasized. Again, this could imply a feeling that there is less involvement of risk:.
The videos are quite relaxed and light-hearted Participant 2. The three sub-themes for regulating gambling advertising were i responsible gambling messages, ii protecting children, and iii industry comparisons. The first sub-theme of regulating advertising concerned brand awareness.
What was evident from the interviews was the belief that online gambling companies were not concerned with protecting consumers from gambling-related harm, especially vulnerable individuals. Opinions centered on the responsible gambling warning messages in gambling advertisements. Despite many television advertisements including a warning message, participants seemed to be somewhat cynical about the usefulness of these.
Many participants raised doubts regarding the efficacy of the warnings and found them mistimed within the advert and not sufficiently long enough in duration. Participants expressed that they did not perceive the responsible gambling warning messages that appears at the end of advertisements to be an effective method of preventing problematic gambling behavior.
And that's it Participant A few participants suggested that they did not pay attention to the information provided at the end of the advertisements and also reported little change in their behavior as a result of the messages. One participant praised a particular gambling advertisement that displayed a responsible gambling message at the beginning of the advert, rather than at the end:. All adverts should start with the disclaimer at the start rather than at the end Participant 4.
The second sub-theme of regulating advertising concerned protecting children. Some participants raised concerns about the impact gambling advertising has on young people, particularly those who are not legally allowed to gamble. I think a lot of young impressionable people might be watching football with their parents Participant 9. Additionally, some participants discussed the intrusiveness of gambling advertising on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and that these advertisements may appeal to children.
Underage people can have access to social media. Some perceived that gambling operators had a responsibility to ensure that young children were not exposed to gambling advertisements, for example:. I think only if you're an experienced gambler, you know what your limits are. You know how much you should gamble and you should know, you know you should gamble responsibly.
The third sub-theme of regulating advertising concerned industry comparisons. Many of the participants had negative opinions about sports betting advertising appearing during sporting events. Participants perceived that advertising can encourage some individuals to gamble excessively, particularly problem gamblers.
Some participants did not believe that the current gambling regulations were enough to protect individuals from gambling-related harm. Some participants said that they believed that gambling advertising should be banned completely, similar to that of the tobacco industry, while others made comparisons between restrictions for other products such as alcohol and fast food.
I think it comes down to individual impulsivity with gambling. Like, I think fast food advertising and stuff like that is way worse than gambling advertising myself Participant When asked for opinions on any changes that they thought should be made to gambling advertising regulations, some participants believed that advertising should be removed completely. Others discussed how it was down to each individual to ensure that they gamble responsibly, and not that of the gambling company.
Participant Other participants had the opinion that it was not just the gambling companies that needed to be doing more and it was down to the individual to take control of their gambling behavior:. Based on the thematic analysis, three broad themes emerged temptation to gamble, promotion characteristics of gambling, and regulating gambling advertising comprising of eight sub-themes in total Table 2.
One prevalent form of marketing was the advertising of betting odds, particularly in-play odds and boosted odds. Advertisements promoted these incentives to capture the attention of sports bettors and influence sports betting behavior. Furthermore, previous research has suggested that in-play sports betting has the potential to be more harmful that other forms of betting and may encourage impulse bets, especially among those experiencing gambling problems Killick and Griffiths In the present study, sports betting promotions minimized perceptions of risk and encouraged feelings of control, and participants acknowledged that these promotions influenced their overall gambling intentions.
Previous research has reported that promotions may reduce feelings of perceived risk that is usually associated with gambling Thomas et al. Because a request is initiated by the individual, it has been argued that this may result in the internalization of the locus of control Lopez-Gonzalez et al.
Boosted and enhanced odds were another popular form of inducement that attracted low-risk gamblers, moderate-risk gamblers, and problem gamblers to place a bet. Previous research has reported that on Twitter, enhanced odds were among the most frequently tweeted forms of promotion Killick and Griffiths Advertisers generate audience engagement by using technologies to reach customers with highly relevant advertisements based on what they do, while placing advertisements adjacent to contents expected to be visited by target consumers Wang These findings also support the recent evidence that has reported that bonuses, including price-related gambling promotions, have been found to be particularly persuasive for encouraging gambling behavior for those experiencing gambling-related problems Lopez-Gonzalez et al.
That is, individuals are affected by relative changes from reference price. Additionally, consumers are likely to make impulse purchases based on price or special promotional offers Park et al. Therefore, these promotions may be initiating online impulse gambling behavior. The uptake of wagering inducements has been previously found to predict impulse betting among problem gamblers and frequent sports viewers Hing et al. The present exploratory study found these promotions appeared to change betting behavior, but further research is required to examine how such promotions change betting behavior.
The popularity of social media combined with the nature of personalized targeted advertising meant that it was often difficult for participants to avoid them. It has also been argued that the promotion of gambling has become a social norm Parke et al. Consequently, gambling is portrayed as a normal, enjoyable form of entertainment that is fun and exciting. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these associations, such marketing practices appear to lead to the expectation that the opportunity to gamble should naturally accompany all sporting activities.
It is possible that this perception of betting being a normal and arguably inextricable part of sport may influence the uptake of betting Djohari et al. When comparing the study findings across all PGSI groups, all sports bettors were in agreement that there was an over-saturation of sports betting advertising, and this exposure was heavily intertwined with their sports watching. Therefore, regulation is required to restrict the marketing of these particularly persuasive types of promotions.
Sports bettors in the present study were critical of gambling-related risk information that was presented alongside sports betting adverts. It has previously been suggested that responsible gambling messages are likely to be ignored when shown alongside mostly positive portrayals of gambling elsewhere in the advert Parke et al.
Therefore, Parke et al. Newall et al. However, further empirical research is required in order to examine the impact of responsible gambling campaigns on different media sources, for example, television advertisements. The present study has a number of limitations. In , the UK gambling industry volunteered to remove advertisements during live sports broadcasts, excluding horse racing. Therefore, the participants may have had a greater level of exposure to advertising and marketing than if the study was replicated now.
Consequently, their views, particularly towards the frequency of television advertising, may not be applicable to those who view sports betting now. The use of convenience and snowball sampling techniques in this study resulted in a high proportion of young male sports bettors. For this reason, participants may have had varied levels of engagement with sports betting and although they were assumed to qualify and meet the aims of the study, they were not representative of all online sports bettors or the wider betting population.
Previous research has found gambling advertising to have more of an impact on gambling involvement for problem gamblers when compared with non-problem gamblers e. The sample of adult sports bettors used in this study consisted of only one problem gambler. It has previously been suggested that it is important to differentiate and understand the impact of numerous forms of advertising on different population subgroups so that educators, researchers, regulators, and legislators can respond accordingly Binde Future research could address this by exploring how responses to gambling advertisements vary between problem gamblers and non-problem gamblers.
The present study examined the perceived impact of sports betting marketing among a sample of UK sports bettors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to qualitatively examine the perceived impact of gambling marketing among UK sports bettors. The results demonstrated evidence of two distinct types of wagering inducements that were particularly influential on sports betting behavior i.
These inducements were found to have distinct attributes that were attractive to the sports bettor including increased feelings of control and reduced feelings of risk that may encourage in-play sports betting. These advertised products were found to be unavoidable, being frequently offered through the websites of online operators, television advertisements, and social media sites. Binde, P. Exploring the impact of gambling advertising: An interview study of problem gamblers.
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7 4 , — Braun, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 2 , 77— Brinson, N. Reactance to personalization: Understanding the drivers behind the growth. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 18 2 , — Columb, D.
Gambling advertising during live televised male sporting events in Ireland: A descriptive study. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. Advance online publication. Deans, E. The influence of marketing on the sports betting attitudes and consumption behaviours of young men: Implications for harm reduction and prevention strategies. Harm Reduction Journal, 14 , 5. Djohari, N. Recall and awareness of gambling advertising and sponsorship in sport in the UK: A study of young people and adults.
Harm Reduction Journal, 16, Duncan, P. Ferris, J. The Canadian problem gambling index: Final report. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Gainsbury, S. Gaming-gambling convergence: research, regulation, and reactions. Gaming Law Review, 23 2 , 80— Exposure to and engagement with gambling marketing in social media: Reported impacts on moderate-risk and problem gamblers.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30 2 , — Griffiths, M. Does advertising of gambling increase gambling addiction? International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 3 2 , 15— Google Scholar. Hanss, D. The impact of gambling advertising: Problem gamblers report stronger impacts on involvement, knowledge, and awareness than recreational gamblers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29 2 , — Hing, N. Gambling sponsorship of sport: An exploratory study of links with gambling attitudes and intentions.
International Gambling Studies, 13 3 , — Do advertising and promotions for online gambling increase gambling consumption? An exploratory study. International Gambling Studies, 14 3 , — Adolescent exposure to gambling promotions during televised sport: An exploratory study of links with gambling intentions. Sports-embedded gambling promotions: A study of exposure, sports betting intention and problem gambling amongst adults.
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 13 1 , — Understanding persuasive attributes of sports betting advertisements: A conjoint analysis of selected elements. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 6 4 , — Does the uptake of wagering inducements predict impulse betting on sport?
Journal of Behavioural Addictions, 33 2 , — Wagering advertisements and inducements: Exposure and perceived influence on betting behaviour. Journal of Gambling Studies, 35 3 , — Holtgraves, T. Evaluating the problem gambling severity index. Journal of Gambling Studies, 25 1 , — Ipsos MORI. Interim synthesis report: The effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults. Ipsos MORI Final Synthesis Report: The impact of gambling marketing advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.
James, R. Understanding the psychology of mobile gambling: A behavioural synthesis. British Journal of Psychology, 3 , — Killick, E. In-play sports betting: A scoping study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17 , — Journal of Gambling Studies, 36 1 , — Lamont, M. Affective response to gambling promotions during televised sport: a qualitative analysis. Sport Management Review, 19 3 , — Lawn, S. A literature review and gap analysis of emerging technologies and new trends in gambling.
Lole, L. Are sports bettors looking at responsible gambling messages? An eye-tracking study on wagering advertisements. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 8 3 , — Lopez-Gonzalez, H. Marketing and advertising online sports betting: A problem gambling perspective. Customization and personalization of sports betting products: Implications for responsible gambling. Gaming Law Review, 23 8 , — The perceived influence of sports betting marketing techniques on disordered gamblers in treatment.
European Sport Management Quarterly, 20 4 , — Milner, L. Embedded gambling promotion in Australian football broadcasts: An exploratory study. Newall, P. PsyArXiv Preprints. Who uses custom sports betting products? However, those betting on races tended to lose more money per bet, on average, than all other forms of betting apart from mixed bets. This may reflect the interest in race betting as an entertainment activity rather than an expectation of consistent winning or positive returns.
In relation to sports betting, bet outlays and outcomes differed between the types of event bet on, indicating that customers had different betting strategies for different events. Mixed bets placed on multiple sporting events were the least successful, which is not surprising as a greater number of successful predictions are required to win. This may explain the relatively few bets placed on these events and lower bet outlay compared to other sports.
Football bets were on average significantly smaller and less successful than bets placed on non-football ball sports. Soccer, Rugby League, and Australian Rules games appear to be particularly difficult to predict, judging from the lower returns. In contrast, bets on Rugby Union, had a positive return on average, although over half still resulted in losses, perhaps suggesting that some astute customers were able to identify more favourable odds for rugby union matches and subsequently won large amounts, impacting the overall average results.
An alternative explanation may be that events in which outcomes are more difficult to pick have less favourable odds, given no clear likely winner, resulting in a lower proportion of returns. Given the absence of prior studies examining types of bets made on sports events and the outcomes of these, including the motivations of bettors, interpretation of these results requires some caution until further research can be conducted.
Similar to the outcome of more specialised racing bet types, bets placed on less popular events, i. Wagers placed on basketball, baseball, and ice hockey had a lower proportion of losses than football bets. Similarly, tennis, basketball, cricket and ice hockey bets had the greatest average returns not including rugby union and other ball sports , although these were still losses on average.
However, there was also relatively high variability in results indicating that the outcomes of bets on these events are not consistent. Because betting on these events is less popular, these events may be subject to less scrutiny and research by the bookmaker. Novelty events include bets placed on the outcome of elections and entertainment or popular events, such as who will win the latest reality television show. Few bets were placed on these events, which is unsurprising as these are generally intended to be non-serious bets that are provided for interest and novelty value.
However, novelty bets had the highest returns. This may reflect a tendency for the operator to be willing to lose some money on these types of bets, which are primarily designed to generate interest and discussion, as opposed to contributing to profits. As the dataset included all bets placed over an entire year, the results are relatively robust in terms of capturing seasonal variation in betting patterns.
However, it is important to note that betting patterns are related to major sporting events and was slightly unusual in having two AFL grand finals, as well as a Soccer World Cup. The dataset only accounts for betting with one operator, which specialises in race wagering, so the results may not be representative of online wagering on sports with other operators more generally.
Bets placed with other operators are obviously not accounted for, nor is other gambling involvement, limiting the description of overall betting patterns. Furthermore, despite the richness of information obtained from actual behavioural data, no contextual data or personal variables were included so it is not possible to understand the customers beyond their behaviour.
Future studies should attempt to combine self-reported data, for example, other gambling behaviour, personal characteristics, thoughts and attitudes, and risk for problem gambling to provide a more holistic account of online bettors Gainsbury Notwithstanding the limitations, the strength of this analysis is the longitudinal analysis of an entire sample of active bettors, which accurately describes all bets made during the period examined.
This represents a significant contribution to the field as it is the first paper to specifically examine the types of bets placed on events and outcomes. It enables for the first time, a detailed understanding of how players place bets and the typical outcomes. The results of these analyses show that overall, although the majority of bets place result in losses, these losses were relatively moderate. Wagering operators tend to return a larger proportion of bets to customers, unlike casino games and slots, which tend to offer less favourable player returns Church-Sanders Further research is required to specifically compare betting patterns and outcomes for wagering and gaming, which is important to determine whether different policies and regulations should be applied to these activities.
After race wagering, which was the predominate activity of the online wagering operator examined, bettors appear to be most likely to place bets on popular sporting events, suggesting that this activity is an adjunct to watching sports and races. As the majority of bets resulted in losses, this suggests that sports and race wagering may not be an activity in which the customers aim to make money, as otherwise they would cease betting in the face of continual losses.
Rather, it supports the notion that, for at least some customers, wagering is an entertainment activity, motivated by factors other than simply winning money. Further research is required to examine the individual factors and motivations for betting. Ideally, any research in which contextual details about individual bettors could be linked to player-account data as this would provide an extremely useful insight into how motivation affects actual gambling behaviour.
Further research may also identify specific betting patterns and subgroups of players. This may lead to the development of different consumer protection and responsible gambling strategies for players based on their individual gambling patterns Gainsbury Optimally, combining self-report with analysis of actual player behaviour may provide practical insights into betting behaviour for key stakeholders, including policy makers, and lead to the development of appropriate regulation that does not overly restrict recreational players, but offers appropriate safeguards.
The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the European Association for the Study of Gambling who provided funding for this research for the first author as well express their appreciation to Unibet and Mr. Mark Morrissey who provided the data analysed in this paper. Sally M. Alex Russell, Email: ua.
Read article at publisher's site DOI : J Behav Addict , 8 2 , 07 Jun J Gambl Stud , 34 3 , 01 Sep J Behav Addict , 6 4 , 13 Oct J Gambl Stud , 33 2 , 01 Jun Cited by: 13 articles PMID: To arrive at the top five similar articles we use a word-weighted algorithm to compare words from the Title and Abstract of each citation. J Behav Addict , 7 1 , 06 Mar J Gambl Stud , 34 2 , 01 Jun Cited by: 3 articles PMID: J Gambl Stud , 23 3 , 17 Jun Cited by: 29 articles PMID: J Gambl Stud , 32 3 , 01 Sep Cited by: 1 article PMID: Selekman J.
J Gambl Stud. Published online Oct PMID: Gainsbury and Alex Russell. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Go to:. Sample An Australian corporate bookmaker, Betchoice now trading under the name Unibet provided a database of de-identified account information for research purposes. Variables The dataset included a unique user identification number for each bet. Open in a separate window.
For gambling return means, values with the same superscript do not differ significant from each other Total bet size including free bets and adjustments was notably different for exotic and each way only bets only. Analysis Due to the extremely large number of bets being analysed, almost all inferential statistical results were significant at an alpha of 0.
Bet type Description Win A bet placed on who will win the race, match or contest Exotic Bets where a particular series of outcomes is required, such as a Trifecta, where the aim is to pick the first three horses. All bets must win in order for the multi to win Place A bet placed on whether the horse finishes in the top three places or in some cases, the top two places Handicap One team or player is given an advantage, so that even if the other team or player wins, they have to win by a certain amount for this bet to be successful Total A bet placed on the total number of points by both teams or players in the contest Margin Where the aim of the best is to pick the winning margin e.
Events Bet On The vast majority of bets Limitations As the dataset included all bets placed over an entire year, the results are relatively robust in terms of capturing seasonal variation in betting patterns. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Recreational versus professional bettors: Performance differences and efficiency implications. Economics Letters. Sports betting: Can gamblers beat randomness? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
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