Belief in Luck or in Skill: Which Locks People into Gambling?
- 1k Downloads
According to the social axioms framework, people’s beliefs about how the world functions (i.e., internal or external locus of control) are related to their social behaviors. Previous researchers have attempted to relate locus of control to gambling behavior, but the results have not been clear-cut. The present study speculated that the effects of perceived control (i.e., belief in luck and belief in skill) on gambling behavior are domain-specific and vary with the type of gambling. A total of 306 adult Macau residents ranging in age from 18 to 65 with casino gambling experience were recruited by going door to door. Empirical data on gambling frequency and perceived control relating to 13 types of gambling were collected. Our results demonstrated that the effects of belief in luck or skill on gambling behavior varied across different gambling categories. Specifically, for football lottery, Chinese lottery, and baccarat, it was not belief in skill but rather belief in luck that was a positive significant predictor of gambling frequency. Only for slot machines and stud poker did belief in skill significantly predict gambling frequency. For the remaining eight gambling categories, neither belief in luck nor belief in skill could predict gambling frequency. Our findings indicate that neither internal nor external locus of control can consistently explain people’s gambling behaviors. Instead, which factor plays a greater role in a person’s gambling behavior is dependent on the gambling type. Therefore, the finding that not all gambles are created equal might be a promising avenue for further research and treatment approaches.
KeywordsBelief in luck Belief in skill Gambling frequency Type of gambling Domain-specific
This research was partially supported by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KSCX2-YW-R-130, KSCX2-EW-J-8), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (70871110, 71071150), and a grant from Macao Polytechnic Institute titled “A Study on Gamblers’ Behavior and Responsible Gambling”. We are indebted to the following individuals for their assistance: the respondents for their participation in the survey; the 21 research assistants from Macao Polytechnic Institute who assisted in data collection; Zhong-Fang Yang, Rui Zheng, Yan Sun, Jie-Hong Xu, and Yan-Ling Bi for illuminating discussions; and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on the initial version.
- Bernstein, P. L. (1998). Against the gods: The remarkable story of risk. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Blais, A. R., & Weber, E. U. (2006). A domain-specific risk-taking (DOSPERT) scale for adult populations. Judgment and Decision Making, 1(1), 33–47.Google Scholar
- Derevensky, J. L., Dickson, L., & Gupta, R. (2008). Adolescent attitudes towards gambling. Revista Brasileira De Terapias Cognitivas, 4(1), 1–17.Google Scholar
- Duarte, C. M., & Kalff, J. (1989). Influence of catchment geology and lake depth on phytoplankton biomass. Archiv fuer Hydrobiologie AHYBA4, 115(1), 27–47.Google Scholar
- Gigerenzer, G., & Selten, R. (Eds.). (2001). Bounded rationality: The adaptive toolbox Cambridge. MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Harman, D. (1967). A single factor test of common method variance. Journal of Psychology, 35, 359–378.Google Scholar
- Kruger, D. J., Wang, X. T., & Wilke, A. (2007). Towards the development of an evolutionarily valid domain-specific risk-taking scale. Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 555–568.Google Scholar
- Lee, J. W., Yates, J. F., Shinotsuka, H., Singh, R. H., Onglatco, M. L. U., Yen, N. S., et al. (1995). Cross-national differences in overconfidence. Asian Journal of Psychology, 1, 63–68.Google Scholar
- Pedhazur, E. J. (1982). Multiple regression in behavioral research: Explanation and prediction (2nd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.Google Scholar
- Sun, Y., Zhou, K., Bi, Y. L., Huang, G. H., & Li, S. (2010). To gamble or not to gamble: A domain-specific intention. Chinese Journal of Behavioral Medicine and Brain Science, 19(11), 1012–1015. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Sundali, J., & Croson, R. (2006). Biases in casino betting: The hot hand and the gambler’s fallacy. Judgment and Decision Making, 1(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Tang, C. S., & Wu, A. M. (2010). Direct and indirect influences of fate control belief, gambling expectancy bias, and self-efficacy on problem gambling and negative mood among Chinese college students: A multiple mediation analysis. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 533–543.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wang, X. T. (2007). Evolutionary psychology of investment decisions: Studies of expected personal money allocation and differential parental investment in sons and daughters. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 39, 406–414. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Zeng, Z. L. (2010). Status quo and future of casinos around the World. Beijing, China: Chinese economy publishing house. (in Chinese).Google Scholar