The utility of gambling and the favourite-longshot bias
The traditional explanation for the usual favourite-longshot bias in gambling is that gamblers are risk-lovers. Conditions are derived under which the bias occurs and it is shown to be consistent with a utility function that has elasticity greater than one in a certain range. With a utility function that displays risk-aversion as well as risk-loving behaviour over its domain, it is demonstrated that the expected return-win probability frontier is not monotonic as has been hitherto tacitly assumed. This provides a consistent explanation for both the usual favourite-longshot bias and also for the few examples where a reverse bias has been observed. Pooled data supports the thesis that the frontier is not completely monotonic but does indeed have a turning point.
Volume (Year): 10 (2004)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
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- Kanto, Antti J. & Rosenqvist, Gunnar & Suvas, Arto, 1992. "On utility function estimation of racetrack bettors," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 491-498, September.
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- Linda M. Woodland & Bill M. Woodland, 2001. "Market Efficiency and Profitable Wagering in the National Hockey League: Can Bettors Score on Longshots?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 983-995, April.
- Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
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