Differences in motivational dimensions across gambling frequency, game choice and medium of play in the United Kingdom

Abstract

Motivations to gamble in the United Kingdom were examined in relation to gambling preferences and behaviour (gambling frequency, game choice, medium of play). A factor analysis delineated six motivational dimensions for gambling as a leisure activity: socialization through learning, escape, peripheral activity, fun/challenge, socialization through competition, and to win money. The motivational dimensions differed significantly for various gambling frequencies and across choice of games, though not across different media of play. More frequent gamblers chose to gamble for escape and/or fun/challenge purposes, while less frequent gamblers chose to gamble for socialization through learning and peripheral activities. Certain gambling motivations significantly affected decisions to play lottery, roulette, poker, betting and slots, but motivations were not significantly different from each other for bingo, blackjack, fixed-odds betting terminals and football pools. The research extends current knowledge of motivations in the UK and recreational gamblers, introducing a new motivational factor – activities indirectly related to gambling – and emphasizing the relationship between gambling motivations and behaviours. Knowledge of motivations assists casino operators in creating effective marketing strategies and aids lawmakers in better understanding the gambling objectives of their citizenry. These motivational dimensions also serve as a baseline against which problematic motivations can be compared.

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