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Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

Keywords: blackjack , gambling , omission bias , decision making.NAKeywords

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Abstract:

This paper uses proprietary data from a blackjack table in Las Vegas to analyze how the expectation of regret affects peoples' decisions during gambles. Even among a group of people who choose to participate in a risk-taking activity, we find strong evidence of an economically significant omission bias: 80\% of the mistakes at the table are caused by playing too conservatively, resulting in substantial monetary losses. This behavior is equally prevalent among large-stakes gamblers and does not change in the face of more complicated strategic decisions.

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