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Gamblers' Rationality in Parimutuel Soccer Betting


  • Hauser, Ursula

    (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)

  • Koenig, Ulrich

    (Department of Economics, University of Vienna)

  • Krylova, Elizaveta

    (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)


A model for strategic behaviour in parimutuel gambles with unequal winning-probabilities is developed and applied to gambles based on soccer results. Assuming that the bookmakers' quotas reflect the true probability of each possible result of a soccer game, we are able to derive a formula for the expected payoff of a betting strategy (Tipp). Using recent (1996-99) data from the Austrian games Toto and Torwette we are able to calculate the optimal strategies for 90 Toto and Torwette rounds. It turns out that given the relatively high probability of a rollover, it is optimal to overbet favourite outcomes (as compared to the probability of their occurrence). Comparing optimal with actual gamblers' behaviour we find that overbetting is even more pronounced than predicted by the model. This means that gamblers bet too frequently on relatively probable results whereas less probable results are too infrequently chosen relatively to the optimal strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hauser, Ursula & Koenig, Ulrich & Krylova, Elizaveta, 2000. "Gamblers' Rationality in Parimutuel Soccer Betting," Economics Series 87, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:87

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon, Jonathan, 1998. "An Analysis of the Distribution of Combinations Chosen by UK National Lottery Players," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 243-276, December.
    2. Ursula HAUSER & Ulrich KÖNIG, 1999. "Parimutuel Lotteries: Gamblers' Behavior and the Demand for Tickets," Vienna Economics Papers vie9905, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    3. Thaler, Richard H & Ziemba, William T, 1988. "Parimutuel Betting Markets: Racetracks and Lotteries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 161-174, Spring.
    4. Hauser, U. & Konig, U,, 1999. "Parimutuel Lotteries: Gambler's Behavior and the Demand for Tickets," Papers 9905, Washington St. Louis - School of Business and Political Economy.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    Decision making under risk and uncertainty; Parimutuel betting; Sports; Gambling;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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