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Appears in Collections:Economics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Behavioral complexity of British gambling advertising
Author(s): Newall, Philip W S
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Keywords: Sports betting
in-play gambling
television advertising
behavioral science
behavioral science of gambling
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: Newall PWS (2017) Behavioral complexity of British gambling advertising, Addiction Research and Theory, 25 (6), pp. 505-511.
Abstract: Background: The scale and complexity of British gambling advertising has increased in recent years. ‘Live-odds’ TV gambling adverts broadcast the odds on very specific, complex, gambles during sporting events (e.g. in soccer, ‘Wayne Rooney to score the first goal, 5-to-1,’ or, ‘Chelsea to win 2-1, 10-to-1’). These gambles were analyzed from a behavioral scientific perspective (the intersection of economics and psychology).  Method: A mixed methods design combining observational and experimental data. A content analysis showed that live-odds adverts from two months of televised English Premier League matches were biased towards complex, rather than simple, gambles. Complex gambles were also associated with high bookmaker profit margins. A series of experiments then quantified the rationality of participants’ forecasts across key gambles from the content analysis (TotalN = 1467 participants across five Experiments).  Results: Soccer fans rarely formed rational probability judgments for the complex events dominating gambling advertising, but were much better at estimating simple events.  Conclusions: British gambling advertising is concentrated on the complex products that mislead consumers the most. Behavioral scientific findings are relevant to the active public debate about gambling.
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