Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 359–386 | Cite as

Definition and Measurement of Chasing in Off-Course Betting and Gaming Machine Play

  • John O'Connor
  • Mark Dickerson


The attempt to recover gambling losses by continuing to gamble (‘chasing’) has featured prominently in accounts of excessive gambling. This research represents the first attempt to operationalize and measure chasing in terms of its cognitive (behavioral intention), emotive (urges) and behavioral components, and to investigate the role of chasing in relation to impaired control over gambling. Two survey samples of 84 male off-course (betting shop) race gamblers (mean age 41, SD = 15) and 137 gaming machine players (73 females, mean age 48, SD = 15 and 64 males, mean age 43, SD = 16) were recruited at gambling venues. Respondents completed a structured questionnaire that investigated retrospective report of chasing and an impaired control scale (“The Scale of Gambling Choices”). It was found that the various components of chasing formed a composite measure with high internal reliability that was strongly related to indicators of excessive gambling (e.g. time spent gambling, expenditure as a proportion of income) and to impaired control scores. Reacting to large wins by further betting was almost as strongly related to impaired control as was persistence after losing. Those who returned later to chase had significantly higher impaired control scores than those who only chased within a session. Alcohol-related chasing was associated with impaired control over gambling. Chasing of losses and impaired control appear to be generic processes in evidence across both forms of gambling and gender (most format and sex differences were of minor significance).

gambling chasing impaired control 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • John O'Connor
    • 1
  • Mark Dickerson
    • 2
  1. 1.Flinders University of South AustraliaAustralia
  2. 2.University of Western SydneyUSA

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