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Psychol Assess. 2011 Mar;23(1):234-44. doi: 10.1037/a0021404.

A taxometric analysis of actual Internet sports gambling behavior.

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Division on Addictions, Cambridge Health Alliance, 101 Station Landing, Medford, MA 02155, USA.


This article presents findings from the first taxometric study of actual gambling behavior to determine whether we can represent the characteristics of extreme gambling as qualitatively distinct (i.e., taxonic) or as a point along a dimension. We analyzed the bets made during a 24-month study period by the 4,595 most involved gamblers among a cohort of 48,114 people using an Internet service to gamble on sporting events. We applied two taxometric procedures (i.e., MAMBAC and MAXCOV) to three indicators of betting behavior: total money lost, total number of bets, and total money wagered. The results fail to provide support for the view that the most involved Internet sports gamblers include a distinct category of gamblers. More research is necessary to clarify the similar features of recreational and extreme gamblers and the dimensions that scientists can use to measure these behaviors. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for clinical, research, and public policy activities.

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