‘Sport of Kings’: Analysis of motives for gambling on horseracing

  • J Surujlal
  • W Mosai
  • M Dhurup
Keywords: Horseracing, gamblers, gambling, risk, excitement, socialisation, betting


Horseracing in South Africa enjoys a long and rich history that can be traced back to 1797 with the first recorded race club meeting taking place in 1802. Clearly it is now a multi million rand popular sport for thousands of participants and supporters around the country. It is a substantial industry and has a significant impact on the country's economy. As a form of gambling it is considered a complicated yet exciting with easy access and close relevance to the efficient market theory. It attracts a sizeable community of followers because of the convenience and easy access to gambling. This study attempts to broaden the knowledge-base of gambling by focusing specifically on the motivations of individuals who gamble in horseracing. A quantitative research approach was adopted. A questionnaire was developed, evaluated and administered to a convenient sample of 400 participants at various totalisator agency boards (TAB) and two race courses. Utilising exploratory factor analysis seven factors which accounted for approximately 64% of the variance were identified. These factors were escapism, hedonic, risk behaviour, monetary, extrinsic, socialisation and excitement. The results suggest that while the monetary motive was the strongest factor that led to gambling on horse racing, gamblers invested very small portion of their income in this activity. This may be because the excitement, hedonic motives and the risk factor also play a significant role in their decision to gamble.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939