Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University
OVER the past few Olympics, almost all bookmakers have reported increased amounts of betting activity during the games themselves.
Given I am a professor of gambling studies, it probably shouldn't surprise you that when I gamble – even on Olympic events – I expect to lose in the long run.
However, that is not to say that I don't have my "golden rules of gambling" that I apply in any gambling situation to help keep things in perspective.
In some situations, there is a very fine line between psychology and common sense and this is one of those occasions. So here are my golden rules for safe and enjoyable gambling on Olympic events.
1. Never gamble without some kind of pre-set plan and amount that you are prepared and/or can afford to lose.
2. Don't let the excitement of gambling on an Olympic event such as the men's 10,000m final detract from the pre-set plan. Don't get sidetracked by adding additional side bets during the event.
3. Remember that the excitement of gambling itself can lead to irrational thought processes. Psychological research has consistently shown that when gamblers are in the thick of their gambling "action", they tend to be more irrational in how they think. Irrationality leads to poor decision-making and pre-set plans and budgets often go out of the window.
4. Where possible, ignore the betting company's Olympic promotions. As a general rule, betting promotions are the highest money earners for the gambling establishment's marketing department.
They are designed to get you into the betting shop or to get you gambling on something new. Stick with your pre-set plan and budget and you'll be fine.
5. Learn to think for yourself. Winners learn to sort things out for themselves and not rely on others. They are comfortable with how they approach their betting. You should also disregard rumours. Only factual information should inform your decision-making.
6. Do your own "research". As with any other product that involves the exchange of money, a gambler needs to establish the best deals around.
7. Finally, gamble with your head and not with your heart. When it comes to gambling on British athletes, I try to employ strategies that leave me feeling good whatever the outcome.
If a British Olympian like Sir Chris Hoy gets to a one-on-one cycling final, I would be more than happy to pay £20 to see them do it, therefore I would happily put £20 on Hoy's opponent to win.
My logic has always been that I win either way. If Hoy wins, I will be on an ecstatic high.
I wouldn't care about losing £20. If Hoy loses, at least I have the winnings to soften the blow!