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The house doesn’t always win: Evidence of anchoring among Australian bookies

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  • McAlvanah, Patrick
  • Moul, Charles C.

Abstract

We examine Australian horseracing bookmakers’ responses to late scratches, instances in which a horse is abruptly withdrawn after betting has commenced. Our observed bookies exhibit anchoring on the original odds and fail to re-adjust odds fully on the remaining horses after a scratch, thereby earning lower profit margins and occasionally creating nominal arbitrage opportunities for bettors. We also examine which horses’ odds bookies adjust after a scratch and demonstrate diminished profit margins even after controlling for these endogenous adjustments. Our results indicate that bookies’ adjustments recover approximately 80% of lost profit margin but that bookies forgo the remaining 20% due to systematic under-adjustments.

Suggested Citation

  • McAlvanah, Patrick & Moul, Charles C., 2013. "The house doesn’t always win: Evidence of anchoring among Australian bookies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 87-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:90:y:2013:i:c:p:87-99
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.03.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2011. "Field Experiments on Anchoring of Economic Valuations," Working Papers 2011-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2016. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Gergaud, Olivier & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Ringeval-Deluze, Aurelie, 2015. "Anchoring and Property Prices: The Influence of Echelle Des Crus Ratings on Land Sales in the Champagne Region of France," Working Papers 231136, American Association of Wine Economists.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:164-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Charles Moul & Joseph Keller, 2014. "Time to Unbridle U.S. Thoroughbred Racetracks? Lessons from Australian Bookies," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(3), pages 211-239, May.
    6. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Anchoring in Financial Decision-Making: Evidence from the Field," IZA Discussion Papers 10151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. repec:taf:acctbr:v:48:y:2018:i:3:p:299-320 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gergaud, Olivier & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Ringeval-Deluze, Aurelie, 2017. "Anchored in the past: Persistent price effects of obsolete vineyard ratings in France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 39-51.
    9. Leung, Tin Cheuk & Tsang, Kwok Ping, 2013. "Anchoring and loss aversion in the housing market: Implications on price dynamics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 42-54.
    10. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till E., 2015. "Anchoring in social context," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 29-39.
    11. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "An experimental study on social anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 196, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anchoring bias; Behavioral economics; Fixed-odds wagering; Natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D49 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Other
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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