Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 159–172 | Cite as

An Empirical Study of the Impact of Complexity on Participation in Horserace Betting

  • Johnnie E.V. Johnson
  • Alistair C. Bruce


The aim of the research reported in this paper was to explore empirically whether levels of participation in horserace betting are affected by the complexity of the betting task. The study employed a systematic random sample of 1161 betting decisions made in UK offcourse betting offices during 1987. The research was conducted in a naturalistic setting where it was possible to grade complexity and to measure levels of participation. Complexity was defined in terms of both the number of alternatives in the decision-maker's choice set (number of horses in a race) and the complexity of the attributes set for each horserace (handicap vs. non-handicap races). Results indicated that bettors are not inhibited by alternative-based complexity, but may be inhibited to some extent by attribute-defined complexity.


Random Sample Empirical Study Naturalistic Setting Systematic Random Sample Grade Complexity 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnnie E.V. Johnson
    • 1
  • Alistair C. Bruce
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Risk Research, Social Sciences FacultyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of NottinghamUnited Kingdom

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