Bruce, A.C. and Johnson, J.E.V.
Toward an explanation of betting as a leisure pursuit
Leisure Studies, 11, (3), . (doi:10.1080/02614369200390091).
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This paper uses an analysis of betting decisions to explore the motivations underlying offcourse horserace betting — a leisure activity which accounted for a turnover of £4.3 billion in the UK in 1989/90. Specifically, four possible motivations are considered: financial gain, intellectual challenge, social interaction and excitement. A testable proposition is developed, linking each motivation to a particular time period in which the bet is placed and as to whether the bet is placed at starting price. Hence, four distinct subsets of the aggregate betting population are defined. The proposition is tested by examining betting behaviour in each subset according to three bet characteristics — financial return, average stake and degree of risk taken, where the value of each characteristic is held to be indicative of an underlying motivation. The results indicate significant support for the proposition that individuals vary in their motivation to bet which is reflected in the nature and timing of their betting activity.
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