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An Examination of Market Efficiency in British Racetrack Betting


  • Gabriel, Paul E
  • Marsden, James R


The nature of the British racetrack betting market provides a distinctly different opportunity for testing market efficiency. On the basis of data from a single racing season, we compare the returns to two similar forms of bettings: (1) starting price bets placed with bookmakers and (2) pari-mutuel tote bets. Our analysis indicates that tote returns are consistently higher than starting price returns, even though both betting forms are of similar risk and the payoffs are widely reported. The persistently higher tote returns suggest that the British racetrack betting market does not satisfy the conditions of semistrong efficiency. Our results also provide indirect support that the market fails to meet the conditions for strong efficiency. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel, Paul E & Marsden, James R, 1990. "An Examination of Market Efficiency in British Racetrack Betting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 874-885, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:98:y:1990:i:4:p:874-85
    DOI: 10.1086/261710

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    Cited by:

    1. Tai, Chung-Ching & Lin, Hung-Wen & Chie, Bin-Tzong & Tung, Chen-Yuan, 2019. "Predicting the failures of prediction markets: A procedure of decision making using classification models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 297-312.
    2. M. Sung & J. E. V. Johnson, 2010. "Revealing Weak‐Form Inefficiency in a Market for State Contingent Claims: The Importance of Market Ecology, Modelling Procedures and Investment Strategies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 128-147, January.
    3. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Explaining the Favorite-Long Shot Bias: Is it Risk-Love or Misperceptions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 723-746, August.
    4. Glenn Boyle, 2008. "Do Financial Incentives Affect The Quality of Expert Performance? Evidence from the Racetrack," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 2(2), pages 43-59, September.
    5. David Paton & Leighton Vaughan Williams, 2001. "Monopoly Rents and Price Fixing in Betting Markets," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 19(3), pages 265-278, November.
    6. Jakobsson, Robin & Karlsson, Niklas, 2007. "Testing Market Efficiency in a Fixed Odds Betting Market," Working Papers 2007:12, Örebro University, School of Business.
    7. Ursula Hauser‐Rethaller & Ulrich König, 2002. "Parimutuel Lotteries: Gamblers' Behavior and the Demand for Tickets," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(2), pages 223-245, May.
    8. Les Coleman, 2007. "Just How Serious is Insider Trading? An Evaluation using Thoroughbred Wagering Markets," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(1), pages 31-55, February.
    9. Les Coleman, 2004. "New light on the longshot bias," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 315-326.
    10. Jianbo Li & Minggao Gu & Tao Hu, 2012. "General partially linear varying-coefficient transformation models for ranking data," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(7), pages 1475-1488, January.
    11. Johnson, Johnnie E. V. & Bruce, Alistair C., 2001. "Calibration of Subjective Probability Judgments in a Naturalistic Setting," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 265-290, July.
    12. Bruce, Alistair C. & Johnson, Johnnie E.V., 2005. "Market ecology and decision behaviour in state-contingent claims markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 199-217, February.
    13. Ioannidis, C. & Peel, D.A., 2005. "Testing for market efficiency in gambling markets when the errors are non-normal and heteroskedastic an application of the wild bootstrap," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 221-226, May.
    14. Johnson, J.E.V. & Peel, D. & Peirson, J., 2010. "Systematic and varying biases in parallel state contingent gambling markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 82-84, November.
    15. D. Law & D. A. Peel & M. Cain, 1999. "Place returns between the tote and bookmakers: empirical evidence of a market anomaly," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(12), pages 789-792.
    16. D. A. Peel & D. Law & M. Cain, 1999. "Market movers and tote and bookmakers returns: further empirical evidence on a market anomaly," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(12), pages 801-804.
    17. Michael Cain & David Law & David Peel, 2002. "Is one price enough to value a state-contingent asset correctly? Evidence from a gambling market," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 33-38.
    18. Leighton Vaughan Williams & David Paton, 1997. "Does information efficiency require a perception of information inefficiency?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(10), pages 615-617.

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