Footy tipping and punting not the same, researchers say

While winning the footy tipping comp at work might be satisfying, it apparently doesn’t translate when it comes to actual punting.

In fact it might even lead down a pathway to problem betting, experts say.

Researchers at Flinders University and South Australia’s Statewide Gambling Therapy Service have tested the proposition that tipping talent is comparable to an ability to turn a profit from football wagering.

It’s a question worth examining, says clinician Ben Riley.

Online gambling and advertising is on the rise in Australia, with total expenditure (losses) almost $25 billion in 2019 and expected to grow with the convenience of mobile devices and online platforms.

Meanwhile, it’s no secret the country’s major football codes heavily feature gambling advertising during broadcasts while commentators promote tips and betting suggestions to thousands of potential punters.

Focusing on AFL, the study compared expert tipsters against a random number generator across six years worth of games – around 1200 fixtures and 4500 individual mock $2 wagers.

While the experts predicted more correct outcomes than the random picks, their equivalent monetary outcomes correlated equal to random picks on sports betting sites.

“However, when looking only at the wins, the random picks had a greater monetary gain on average than the tipping experts,” Dr Riley said.

“Essentially, knowledge about AFL will not help you win money betting.”

By using their knowledge, AFL punters may pick more correct games than chance and this keeps them gambling – despite losing money over the long term, Dr Riley said.

“Making correct AFL selections and winning money are not the same thing – a distinction that many betting fans may not appreciate.

“Another way of saying this is that just because you are good at the tea room AFL tipping comp doesn’t mean you will win money gambling on AFL.

“The two things are very different.”

The research concluded more information needs to be made available about winning and losing and betting odds in future gambling harm health messaging.

As well as helping to inform psychological interventions targeting gamblers’ illusions of control, the study found sports media personalities and commentators should be discouraged from promoting footy tips or best bets.

Separate research suggests almost one-third of sports bettors in SA gamble at risky levels compared to 27 per cent of poker machine players and 12 per cent of gamblers generally.

Australian gambling and wager companies last year spent $310 million in advertising.

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