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  • Author or Editor: Philip W.S. Newall x
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Abstract

Background and aims

Request-a-bet services are a modern gambling product delivered via the social network Twitter, which allow sports bettors to design custom bets. The public nature of Twitter data provided a unique opportunity to investigate patterns of bettor preference and the bookmaker profit margin in soccer, the UK’s favorite sport.

Methods

Two multi-method studies. Twitter users’ engagement with request-a-bet services was monitored unobtrusively (n = 1,406), meaning that potential patterns across users’ requests could be observed, and the bookmaker profit margin could be estimated. Twitter users were also surveyed directly (n = 55), providing self-report measures of request-a-bet usage.

Results

Twitter users requested bets with an average potential payoff of £56.5 per £1 risked (median = £9). Overall, 9.7% of requested bets paid-off, but these were mostly bets at short odds. This meant that requests yielded a high bookmaker profit margin of 43.7% (roughly eight times higher than current margins in conventional soccer bets), which increased to 74.6% for bets at longer odds. Requested bets also tended to involve star players from the best teams. Finally, 92.7% of surveyed Twitter users reported placing at least one bet via request-a-bet services (mean = 44.4 bets).

Discussion and conclusions

Researchers can use request-a-bet products to increase their understanding of sports betting behavior. Sports bettors should be given information about how much higher the bookmaker profit margin can be in modern sports bets compared to the conventional sports bets that they may be more familiar with.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

A literature exists on the structural characteristics of electronic gambling machines (EGMs), which are design innovations that can promote spending excessive time and money on these games. Fixed-odds sports betting products, where bettors place sports bets against a bookmaker, have also seen significant innovations in recent years. Despite some differences between these gambling products, similar structural characteristics could also be relevant to sports betting. The aim was to review previous research on contemporary fixed-odds sports betting products, and to identify whether structural characteristics from the EGM literature are also relevant to sports betting.

Methods

Structural characteristics uncovered by two influential reviews of EGMs were identified, and their relevance to fixed-odds sports betting products discussed via a narrative review.

Results

Structural characteristics of payout interval and potential betting frequency (in-play betting), multiplier potential (accumulators, complex bets, multis), win probability and payout ratio (all bets), bettor involvement (custom sports betting products, cash out), skill required (all bets), and near-misses (accumulators, complex bets, multis) were all identified in modern fixed-odds sports betting products.

Discussion and conclusions

Fixed-odds sports betting products have increasingly incorporated structural characteristics previously found in EGMs. Future research could further assess the extent to which these structural characteristics contribute to fixed-odds sports bettors spending excessive amounts of time and money while betting. These findings can help guide further sports betting research, contribute to an improved understanding of the potential universality of gambling product design, and inform policy.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims: The UK allows a number of gambling products to be legally used by people under the age of 18. The aim of this study was to explore associations between recalled legal usage of five youth gambling products and adult disordered gambling. Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study of 1,057 adult UK gamblers, aged 18–40. Recalled legal use of five youth gambling products (category D fruit machines, coin push machines, crane grab machines, the National Lottery, and National Lottery scratchcards) was correlated with adult disordered gambling symptoms as measured by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Results: Recalled rates of legal engagement with each product ranged from 50.9% for Category D fruit machines to 96.6% for coin push machines. For category D fruit machines, the National Lottery, and National Lottery scratchcards, merely having legally engaged with these products as a child was associated with adult disordered gambling. Furthermore, higher levels of recalled legal youth usage with each of the five products was also associated with adult disordered gambling. Discussion and conclusions: These results relate to recent government proposals to increase the National Lottery scratchcard legal age to 18, and add to a wider literature on youth gambling and subsequent gambling-related harm.

Open access