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Predictors of Problem Gambling for Sports and Non-sports Gamblers: A Stochastic Search Variable Selection Analysis


Differences in the psychological characteristics and gambling behaviors of sports bettors and non-sports bettors were examined with a view to identifying predictors of problem gambling severity. A survey was completed by 1,280 participants, 596 of whom had placed bets on a sporting event in the last year. We found that sports bettors are at greater risk of problem gambling due to differences in attitudes towards gambling, personality traits, thinking styles, erroneous cognitions, and gambling motivations. Moreover, our findings suggest that the difference between individuals who bet on sports and those who do not is more quantitative than qualitative. A stratified stochastic search variable selection analysis by type of bettor revealed similar important predictors of problem gambling for both sports bettors and non-sports bettors; however, the association between the predictors and problem gambling was stronger for sports bettors. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that preventative methods and interventions for problem gambling should be targeted as a function of whether individuals bet on sports.

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Correspondence to Harvey H. C. Marmurek.

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Cooper, A., Olfert, K. & Marmurek, H.H.C. Predictors of Problem Gambling for Sports and Non-sports Gamblers: A Stochastic Search Variable Selection Analysis. J Gambl Stud (2021).

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  • Sports gambling
  • Motivation
  • Cognitions
  • Impulsivity
  • Bayesian analysis