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Weighing up the odds: young men, sports and betting

Jenkinson, R, de Lacy-Vawdon, C, Carroll, M

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
July 2018



  • Improve understanding of gambling motivations, attitudes and behaviours among young men who watch or play sports that involve exposure to gambling
  • Increase understanding of the role of sports betting advertising and new technologies in shaping gambling motivations, attitudes and behaviours among this group of young men
  • Inform future research and contribute to policy and practical responses.


1. This research primarily involved a sequential two-step approach:

  • Interviews with 25 men aged 18-35 years recruited from sport-related settings in Victoria. Questions explored gambling behaviours and motivations and attitudes towards gambling promotion.
  • A quantitative online survey exploring themes that arose from these interviews. 423 young men were recruited through a variety of online platforms. Interest in sports and betting was referenced in the study advertisements but not mandatory. Participants were eligible if they were male, aged 18-35 and lived in Victoria.

2. A small number of interviews were also conducted with parents (n=3) and sports administrators (n=7). A key stakeholder forum was conducted in May 2017 to present early findings from the study and consider opportunities for research and policy responses.

Summary of findings

Regular (at least weekly) sport and race bettors were significantly more likely than occasional bettors to be motivated by getting ahead financially, having easy access to betting, boredom, advertisements and promotions and chasing losses. They were also significantly more likely to place bets whilst affected by alcohol.

It also found:

  • The report presents a variety of information on the profile, behaviours, attitudes and motivations of participants. Of the 423 survey respondents, 40 per cent bet at least weekly, 39 per cent had bet at least once in the past year and 20 per cent were classified as non-gamblers.
  • The average age of survey respondents was 25, the majority were employed and well-educated. Almost all watched sport on TV and a significant majority participated in sporting activity themselves.
  • AFL was the most popular sport both to play and bet on, followed by soccer.
  • There was a considerable overlap between sport and racing betting, with 70 per cent betting on both.
  • Bettors placed bets on an average of 6.4 different sports over 12 months.
  • Majority of betting done online on either a smartphone or computer, most popular betting destination was the home.

This study was funded by the Foundation within the Early Career Researcher (ECR) grants round.


Jenkinson, R, de Lacy-Vawdon, C, Carroll, M 2018, Weighing up the odds: young men, sports and betting, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.

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