Online betting intensity is linked with Extraversion and Conscientiousness

J Pers. 2021 Oct;89(5):1081-1094. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12637. Epub 2021 May 5.


Introduction: Extraversion and Conscientiousness are well-studied personality traits associated with reward processing and goal prioritization, respectively, and bear on individual differences in financial risk-taking. Using unique large datasets, we investigated the link between these traits and male online gamblers' actual betting participation and intensity.

Method: We combined datasets containing online horse betting data (during 2015-2016) from the Finnish monopoly betting company, administrative registry data from Statistics Finland, and personality trait measures from the Finnish Defence Forces corresponding to Extraversion and Conscientiousness as defined in the five-factor model. We modelled associations between these traits and betting participation (n = 471,968) and intensity (n = 11,217) among male horse bettors (age = 36-53).

Results: Controlling for demographics and IQ, individuals scoring high on Conscientiousness (or Extraversion) were less (or more) likely to bet and less (or more) intensive bettors-even when personality was measured 16-34 years before betting occurred. One SD personality score increase represented an annual decrease (Conscientiousness) or increase (Extraversion) of €570-754 in spending.

Conclusions: Extraversion and Conscientiousness are implicated in real-life financial behavior with tangible consequences for individuals. These effects are stronger than for many known demographic variables used in gambling studies and persist up to 34 years after personality has been measured.

Keywords: betting intensity; horse race betting; male; online gambling; personality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Gambling*
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Personality
  • Personality Disorders