Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 899–906 | Cite as

Misbeliefs About Gambling in a Convenience Sample from the General Population

  • Alexander Tomei
  • Anthony Bamert
  • Anna-Maria Sani
Original Paper


We examined knowledge about the role of randomness in gambling and the principle of independence of events, in a community sample. We also investigated whether this knowledge varies according to gender and age. A convenience sample of 1257 residents in French-speaking Switzerland, aged 18–88 years (28.5% of women) completed a short online questionnaire. This assessed the perceived role of human skills in four different games as well as beliefs relating to the principle of independence of events. The results show that 19.5% of the respondents perceived Roulette as a game for which the outcome is determined by skill. They also showed that 15.1% of the respondents did not hold beliefs about the independence of events principle. Gender and age differences were also observed: Men were proportionally more likely to hold erroneous beliefs about gambling skills and the independence of events, compared to women. The 18–25 year-old age group attributed Roulette outcomes to the gambler’s skill more frequently than the older categories. The implications of these findings for prevention and social support are discussed.


Population Gambling Erroneous beliefs Independence of events Gender Age 



The authors would like to thank Federico Cathieni for his technical support, in implementing the online questionnaire, and Cheryl Dickson for English revision of the manuscript. Funding was provided by Lausanne Universtiy Hospital regular budget.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest


Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Tomei
    • 1
  • Anthony Bamert
    • 1
  • Anna-Maria Sani
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Excessive Gambling, Service of Community PsychiatryLausanne University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.IRGA, Research Institute on GamblingBellinzonaSwitzerland

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