We all know that the objective when making a bet is to win.
The hope is that we find a market offering good enough value to balance the risk/reward ratio and make the bet worth placing, and that the bet is then successful.
However, according to some recent research by the UKGC, it is also this very act of winning a bet that makes us more likely to bet again, as we attempt to recreate the positive experience we enjoyed previously.
This is all part of the regulating body’s consumer journey research, which has resulted in what they are calling the ‘Path to Play’.
Here’s what it is, and what it shows.
What is the Path to Play Research?
Building on their ‘Why People Gamble‘ research, the UKGC decided to dig deeper and explore exactly what makes people decide to have a bet by working out the thought process going on in a gambler’s head.
Obviously there is no one answer here, because everyone is different with their own internal thought process, and we all see and hear different things that will in turn have a unique effect on each of us.
However, the research was able to break down what happens into 6 broad categories:
- passive influences
- external triggers
- internal impulses
- active search
- play experience
- play outcome
They then formed lots of different questions for each category and asked almost 1000 gamblers in all areas of the industry, from sports betting to bingo, to answer them.
This created data surrounding the consumer journey of a gambler. The consumer journey is what happens from the moment before a person decides to buy something (a bet in this case) right the way through to them deciding when/where/how to do it, how they feel as they are doing it, and how they feel afterwards.
It’s a bit like a map of the route we take to get to the bet we end up making, and what made us choose certain directions along the way.
What Does the Data Show?
There is a lot to talk about within the results of the research, but what stood out to me were the results around what is most likely to make us want to have a bet in the first place.
Focussing on the ‘passive influences‘ step in the chain, which considers a person’s general outlook on gambling and whether/how often they end up doing it, then the experience of winning or hearing about someone else winning had the highest impact score of 28% and 27% respectively.
This means that the impact of having won a bet, or hearing about someone else winning a bet, creatives a positive feeling around gambling in that person’s subconscious. This then means that when the opportunity or impulse to gamble next occurs, the person is more likely to act on it.
You might think the impulse to stick a bet on would simply come from a promotion or some advertising, and while this is true to a point, the impact of that is much less than I would have suspected.
For instance, the impact of gambling adverts, emails, texts, and app notifications was just 19%.
Add to this the findings that 43% of the people who took part said they gambled to “win some money, even a small amount”, and it starts to look like a few little wins here and there are enough to keep us ticking along and keep betting in our good books.
Those who lost often or lost a large amount said they were more likely to shy away from gambling for a while, suggesting that knocked confidence kills our enjoyment of a bet.
Why Does Winning Make us Want to Bet Again?
Winning is a pleasant and exciting feeling, so it makes sense that we would want to experience that feeling more than just once.
Like anything else, if we enjoy it, we come back for me, whether that be re-watching a film you’ve seen before, taking part in extreme sports, or spending ‘quality time’ with your other half.
Gambling is essentially buying an experience, or buying entertainment.
Even if you lose, the excitement and engagement you get from a bet up until the point the bet is lost is what you are really paying for. If that bet wins though, there is a whole added layer of excitement plus a financial reward on top.
Not only do we want to replicate that, but we will be more likely to use the same website, or a similar bet type to try and do it.
So despite the fact that we have succeeded in our objective, which is to beat the bookie and win our bet, the very act of doing so increases the chances that we will give that money back to the bookie at some point in the not too distant future.
The lesson here? It’s not new advice, but bank your winners and let your losers go.