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Football Gambling Three Arm-Controlled Study: Gamblers, Amateurs and Laypersons

Huberfeld R.a · Gersner R.b · Rosenberg O.a · Kotler M.a · Dannon P.N.a
aBeer Yaakov Mental Health and Rehabilitation Center, Affiliated with the Tel Aviv University, Sackler School of Medicine, Beer Yaakov, Israel; bDepartment of Neurology, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA Psychopathology 2013;46:28–33 (DOI:10.1159/000338614)


Background: Football (soccer) betting, as a strategic form of betting, became one of the favorite wagers for pathological gamblers. Previous studies demonstrated the psychological and biological significance of the ‘illusion of control’ (personal control) and ‘near miss’ results in gambling. In our study, we explored whether knowledge and expertise of pathological sports gamblers can ensure a successful bet. Sample and Methods: Participants were divided into three groups of individuals – pathological gamblers, amateurs and laypersons – and were asked to predict in advance the general result and the exact result of football matches in the European Champions League Round of 16. Results: The 165 participants included 53 pathological sports gamblers (52 males and 1 female), 78 laypersons (45 females and 33 males) and 34 amateurs (all males). After a thorough statistical analysis, we found no significant differences between the groups, no matter what kind of previous knowledge they had acquired. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the ‘illusion of control’ of pathological gamblers, attained by knowledge of the game and its latest data and information (especially in a strategic gamble as football betting), has no factual background. Moreover, our study demonstrates without a doubt that there is no significant difference between the male pathological sports gamblers group and the male/female laypersons group.


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