The Relationship Between Unexpected Outcomes and Lottery Gambling Rates in a Large Canadian Metropolitan Area
Keywords:prediction error, gambling, lottery, big data, mood
The purchase of lottery tickets is widespread in Canada, yet little research has directly examined when and why individuals engage in lottery gambling. By leveraging a large urban dataset of lottery sales in Toronto, Canada, and using a simple computational framework popular in psychology, we examined whether city residents gamble more when local outcomes are better than expected; for example, wins by local sports teams or amounts of sunshine based on recent weather history. We found that unexpectedly sunny days predict increased rates of fixed-prize lottery gambling. The number of local sports team wins also predicted increased purchase rates of fixed-prize lottery, but unexpected positive outcomes in sports did not. Our results extend previous findings examining the linkage between sunshine and gambling in metropolitan areas beyond the US, but do not fully replicate the previously observed relationships between unexpected sports outcomes and gambling in US cities. These results suggest that the observed malleability of lottery gambling in response to incidental events in the gambler’s environment may vary considerably across geographies.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Hin-Ngai Fu, Eva Monson, Ross Otto
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Critical Gambling Studies.