Sports Bettors: Drivers and Motivators

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Sports Bettors: Drivers and Motivators

The drivers and motivators of sports bettors are complex above and beyond the basic foundation of desire for financial winnings. Research has shown that the demographic makeup of most sports bettors, i.e. young, male, single, drives their usage of sports betting to build social identities. At the same time, psychological challenges including low self-control, alcohol abuse issues and a tendency to blame other people for negative results also drive sports bettors.

Fundamental Motivations

  • All gambling is driven by the primary motivations of sports betting, which include "the dream of hitting the jackpot and transforming one's life, social rewards, intellectual challenge, mood change induced by playing, and — the fundamental motive for all gambling — the chance of winning."
  • Further research has built on the foundation of these underlying motivations to determine specific drivers and motivators for sports bettors.

Gambling Drivers by Demographics

  • An American study showed sports bettors are most likely to be young, male, single, educated, have a full-time job or be a full-time student.
  • Another research study of sports bettors motivations showed that, while money-oriented motivations were high, the bettors also had gambling urges separate from financial motives.
  • They were also more likely to have alcohol abuse issues and to have lower self-control.
  • They often do not take responsibility for their actions.
  • These findings suggest that a person's "psychological relationship to sports betting is a primary driver of gambling-related problems, rather than just betting behaviour. "
  • An American study of online sports betting found that women bet more often in a shorter interval than men. They also have smaller net losses despite making bigger bets, suggesting women were more effective at sports betting.

Sports Gamblers by the Numbers

  • Sports event bettors gamble on an average of 4.7 times a week.
  • Sixty Two per cent of gamblers spend between $157 to $314 (CND) per week.
  • Another study showed that some bettors made $10 bets on an average of 19 times a week.

Intrinsic Human motivations

  • A research study in Australia found that the drivers for sports bettors were interrelated and centered around satisfying the inherent human needs of being competent and relating to one's peers.
  • Environmental and cultural factors were also found to be significant motivators as young men tried to build social identities in the context of Australian ideals.

Erroneous beliefs

  • A Canadian study of hockey bettors showed that a majority believed that, after a streak of bad luck a "good team" was due to win. This sentiment motivated them to bet against a losing streak.
  • Another study showed that Sports Events Bettors (SEB) believed that after a series of losses, the chances of winning increased.

Perception of Skill

  • Sports bettors are likely to think highly of their ability to pick winners, even though a study showed that experienced sports bettors did not win more money than those who made random selections.
  • Another study showed that 18.8% of the SEB participants believed they had above average skills in betting.
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