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Betting Research Unit

Unit(s) of assessment: Business and Management Studies

School: Nottingham Business School


The Betting Research Unit (BRU) is involved in the investigation and analysis of betting and gaming markets and issues. Formed in 1995 the Unit undertakes privately commissioned contracts and reports as well as research at the forefront of the international academic and industry literature and is available for consultancy and media enquiries as well as expert witness work.

The Unit has acted widely in an advisory role to the betting and gaming industries, as well as more generally to the Government and commercial sectors, and has well-developed links with research institutions throughout the world.

The work of the BRU has attracted widespread attention from the media and has featured regularly on national and international television and radio, as well as in news outlets ranging from the Financial Times, Business Week and the Economist, to the Wall Street Journal, the Investors Chronicle and the Racing Post.

The Unit was central to the world's largest study of online gambling, involving nearly 11,000 players from 96 countries. More generally, research and consultancy reports produced by the Unit have played, and continue to play, a key role in influencing policymakers, regulators and operators worldwide, including HM Revenue and Customs / HM Customs and Excise, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the National Audit Office and the Gambling Commission.

Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams has provided seminars and presentations to other research groups; advised and contributed to grant applications, strategies and potential research projects. Leighton Vaughan Williams was invited to present during the ‘Multidisciplinary Research and Dissemination’ session of the NTU Doctoral Research Festival. The aim of the presentation, on the theme of modernising betting taxes and markets, was to help inspire the next generation of researchers about the way that research can have major real-world impacts on the economy and society.


A list of external collaborators and sponsored research is listed below:

  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • National Audit Office
  • House of Commons / House of Lords
  • Gambling Commission
  • National Lottery Commission
  • Camelot
  • eCogra
  • PredictIt
  • Chameleon PR
  • Oddschecker

Related staff


Full details of Betting Research Unit publications can be found via the Institutional Repository of Nottingham Trent University.

An indicative list of papers by the Betting Research Unit include:

Collins, A. McKenzie, J. and Vaughan Williams, L. 2019. When is a talent contest not a talent contest? Sequential performance bias in expert evaluation. Economics Letters, 177, pp. 94-98.

Vaughan Williams, L., Sung, M. and Johnson, J.E.V., 2018. Prediction markets: theory, evidence and applications. International Journal of Forecasting. ISSN 0169-2070 (Forthcoming)

Brown, A., Reade, J.J. and Vaughan Williams, L., 2018. When are prediction market prices most informative? International Journal of Forecasting 35(1), pp.420-428.

Reade, J.J. and Vaughan Williams, L. 2019. Polls to probabilities: comparing prediction markets and opinion polls. International Journal of Forecasting. ISSN 0169-2070 (Forthcoming).

Vaughan Williams, L. and Reade, J.J., 2016. Prediction Markets, Social Media and Information Efficiency. Kyklos, 69, 3, pp. 518-556.

Vaughan Williams, L., Sung, M.-C., Fraser-Mackenzie, P.A.F., Peirson, J. and Johnson, J.E.V., 2016. Towards an understanding of the origins of the favourite-longshot bias: evidence from online poker markets, a real-money natural laboratory. Economica. ISSN 0013-0427

Vaughan Williams, L., 2014. The Churchill betting tax, 1926-30: a historical and economic perspective. Economic Issues, 19 (2), pp. 21-38.

Paton, D. and Vaughan Williams, L., 2013. Do New Gambling Products Displace Old? Evidence from a Postcode Analysis. Regional Studies, 47 (6), pp. 963-973.

Vaughan Williams, L. and Paton, D., 2013. The Taxation of Gambling Machines: A Theoretical Perspective. The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Gambling, ed. Vaughan Williams, L. and Siegel, D., Oxford University Press, pp. 692-700.