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Something for nothing: A model of gambling behavior

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  • Nyman, John A.
  • Welte, John W.
  • Dowd, Bryan E.

Abstract

Gambling is an ancient economic activity, but despite its universality and importance, no single explanation for the demand for gambles has gained ascendance among economists. This paper suggests that the demand for gambles is based on the ability to obtain "something for nothing." That is, the gain from gambling is not merely additional income, but additional income for which the gambler does not need to work. Thus, to fully understand gambling behavior, it must be placed in a labor supply context. The theory is tested empirically using the Survey of Gambling in the U.S. Support for the theory is found.

Suggested Citation

  • Nyman, John A. & Welte, John W. & Dowd, Bryan E., 2008. "Something for nothing: A model of gambling behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2492-2504, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:6:p:2492-2504
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martijn J. Burger & Martijn Hendriks & Emma Pleeging & Jan C. Ours, 2020. "The joy of lottery play: evidence from a field experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(4), pages 1235-1256, December.
    2. Brad R. Humphreys & John A. Nyman & Jane E. Ruseski, 2016. "The Effect of Recreational Gambling on Regional Health Outcomes: Evidence from Canadian Provinces," Working Papers 16-28, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    3. Brochado, Ana & Santos, Maria & Oliveira, Fernando & Esperança, José, 2018. "Gambling behavior: Instant versus traditional lotteries," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 560-567.
    4. Ida, Takanori, 2010. "Anomaly, impulsivity, and addiction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 194-203, April.
    5. Brad R. Humphreys & John A. Nyman & Jane E. Ruseski, 2021. "The Effect of Recreational Gambling on Health and Well-Being," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 29-75, January.
    6. Mao, Luke Lunhua & Zhang, James J. & Connaughton, Daniel P., 2015. "Sports gambling as consumption: Evidence from demand for sports lottery," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 436-447.
    7. Humphreys, Brad & Nyman, John & Ruseski, Jane, 2011. "The Effect of Gambling on Health: Evidence from Canada," Working Papers 2011-18, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    8. Luke Lunhua Mao & James J Zhang & Daniel P Connaughton, 2015. "Determinants of Demand for Sports Lottery: Insights from a Multilevel Model," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(8), pages 973-987, August.

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