In the ever-evolving online gambling landscape, understanding the intricate patterns of betting behavior is crucial for operators and players. To further understand the intricacies of online betting, a study by Sally M. Gainsbury and Alex Russell analyzed the betting patterns of online gamblers, utilizing a comprehensive database of bets placed over a calendar year. 

Their goal is to unravel the nuances of player choices, shedding light on the preferences, strategies, and outcomes that shape betting on online platforms like OKBet. Here is what they have found:

Betting Styles

The study reveals a fascinating dichotomy in betting styles, with approximately half of all bets placed for a win. This aligns with the trend observed in another Australian betting operator, Tabcorp, suggesting a preference for straightforward, uncomplicated bets. The boldness of opting for win bets over each-way bets indicates a potential inclination towards risk-taking among gamblers.

Place bets emerge as more successful than winning bets, both in terms of win percentages and gambling return. The prevalence of place bets can be attributed to the higher probability of success, given the multiple potential outcomes. The study hints at the potential influence of risk preferences and motivations on the choice of betting types, calling for further exploration in subsequent research.

Sports Betting Landscape

The dominance of race betting is not surprising for an operator specializing in this niche, reflecting the broader trend in the Australian wagering market. However, sports betting, particularly in ball sports like soccer, rugby league, and Australian Rules, unveils intriguing insights. The surge in soccer bets during the FIFA World Cup aligns with global trends, highlighting the impact of major sporting events on betting patterns.

The correlation between popular sports spectatorship and betting trends mirrors findings from US research, suggesting a symbiotic relationship between betting and watching sports. The absence of heavy advertising during the analyzed period raises questions about the interplay between marketing, sports events, and betting behavior, warranting further investigation.

Risk and Return:

A noteworthy revelation is that the majority of bets result in losses, consistent with previous studies on wagering. The study postulates that the bookmaker’s strategic setting of odds ensures a margin, contributing to the high profitability observed in the sports gambling market. The average bet size, considerably larger than reported in comparable studies, raises questions about the dynamics of online bookmaker betting compared to totalizer agencies.

The most popular bet type, to win, exhibits a higher rate of losses and the lowest average gambling returns. This disparity may be attributed to the complexity of racing bets, where picking one winner from a field of contenders is inherently challenging. The study suggests that bettors may be influenced by emotions and team preferences, emphasizing the need for research on cognitive processes and betting strategies.

Subgroups and Success

Intriguingly, the analysis identifies subgroups of potentially successful bettors who engage in specific bet types, such as handicap and total bets. These bettors may know more about specific races or astuteness in identifying favorable odds. The study underscores the existence of subgroups within the heterogeneous population of bettors, necessitating further exploration into their behavior and motivations.

Event-Specific Betting

Differences in betting strategies for various sports events emerge, with mixed bets on multiple events being the least successful. The study hints at the challenges posed by predicting outcomes in events requiring multiple successful predictions. Notably, bets on less popular events, such as basketball, baseball, and ice hockey, exhibit higher success rates, possibly due to less scrutiny and research by the bookmaker.

Novelty bets on elections and entertainment events, while infrequent, boast the highest returns. This suggests a willingness on the part of the operator to engage in these non-serious bets for the sake of generating interest and publicity.


While acknowledging limitations, this analysis offers a unique longitudinal perspective on the betting patterns of online gamblers. The majority of bets resulting in losses suggest that, for many customers, wagering is more of an entertainment activity than a pursuit of financial gain. The study advocates for further research into individual motivations and factors influencing betting behavior, providing a roadmap for the development of tailored consumer protection and responsible gambling strategies.

In the dynamic world of online gambling, understanding the diverse tapestry of betting patterns is not just an academic pursuit but a crucial tool for shaping the future of responsible and enjoyable gambling experiences.