An empirical study of the effect of voluntary limit-setting on gamblers’ loyalty using behavioural tracking data [open-access article].

Abstract: Online gambling has become increasingly popular over the past decade as has research using behavioural tracking (player account) data. To date, there is no study that has empirically investigated the effects of responsible gambling tools on loyalty. In the present study, the effect of voluntary limit-setting on player loyalty was evaluated over time using tracking data provided by an online gambling operator. More specifically, the authors were given access to an anonymised dataset of 175,818 players who had placed at least one bet or gambled at least once during January 2016 to May 2017 at the online gambling operator Kindred. The average age of the players was 31 years, and overall 18,484 of the players were female (10.5%). The dataset comprised a 20% random sample of the total player population of Kindred. In each of ten playing intensity groups, the percentage of active players in the first quarter of 2017 was higher in the group of players who had set voluntary money limits in the first quarter of 2016 compared to players that did not (suggesting players that set voluntary spending limits are more loyal compared to those who do not). The implications of these findings are discussed. Article available online

Reference: Auer, M., Hopfgartner, N., & Griffiths, M.D. (2019). An empirical study of the effect of voluntary limit-setting on gamblers’ loyalty using behavioural tracking data. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00084-3

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Deposit limit prompt in online gambling for reducing gambling intensity: A randomized controlled trial – open access online article.

Introduction: Pre-commitment tools – allowing users of gambling services to pre-set a limit for how much money they may spend – are relatively common. However, there exist no clear evidence of their effectiveness in preventing gamblers from spending more money than they otherwise planned. The aim of the study was to compare gambling intensity between users of an online gambling service prompted to set a deposit limit and non-prompted customers, both in the whole sample and among most active users based on the total number of gambling days. Prospective customers of a publicly governed gambling operator from Finland were randomized to receive a prompt to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size either (1) at registration, (2) before or (3) after their first deposit, or (4) to an unprompted control condition.
Data on customers from Finland with online slots as a preferred gambling category (N = 4328) were tracked in the platform for 90 days starting at account registration, gambling intensity being measured with aggregated net loss. The intervention groups did not differ from each other in either proportion of participants with positive net loss or size of positive net loss. The pooled intervention group did not differ from the control group regarding proportion of gamblers with positive net loss (OR = 1.0; p = 0.921) or size of net loss (B = -0.1; p = 0.291).
The intervention groups had higher rates of limit-setters compared to the control condition (ORat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit = 11.9/9.2/4.1). Customers who have increased/removed a previously set deposit limit had higher net loss than the limit-setters who have not increased/removed their limit (Bat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit/control = 0.7/0.6/1.0/1.3), and unprompted limit-setters lost more than unprompted non-setters (B = 1.0).
Prompting online gamblers to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size did not affect subsequent net loss compared to unprompted customers, motivating design and evaluation of alternative pre-commitment tools. Setting a deposit limit without a prompt or increasing/removing a previously set limit may be a marker of gambling problems and may be used to identify customers in need of help.
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Reference: Ivanova E., Magnusson K., & Carlbring P. (2019). Deposit limit prompt in online gambling for reducing gambling intensity: A randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:639. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00639

The use of gamification in facilitating the use of responsible gambling tools [open access article]

A recent paper published in Gaming Law Review by Mulligan [1] examined whether ‘gamification’ and ‘responsible gaming’ were “friends or foes” (p.405) yet the most obvious application of gamification in relation to this topic was not even mentioned in the paper, namely, the application of gamification in getting individuals to use responsible gambling tools. The use of gamification techniques in everyday life is now widespread and a few gaming operators have already started to include such techniques as a way of facilitating use of and/or education about responsible gambling tools and practices. Access full article

Griffiths, M.D. (2018). Gaming Law Review, in press.

Limit setting as a responsible gambling tool [open access article]

Over the last couple of years, the gambling industry has identified social responsibility as a major cornerstone of their business (Harris & Griffiths, 2017). The main goal of social responsibility practices in gambling is the application of procedures and tools that help minimize gambling-related harm. Because of its technological infrastructure, researchers have pointed out that many responsible gambling (RG) initiatives may actually be more effective online. Previous research has shown that information technology developments which are helpful in reducing negative consequences associated with gambling are endorsed by regular gamblers (Parke & Griffiths, 2012). Access full article

By Mark Griffiths & Michael Auer. (2018). CGiMagazine.com

An analysis of consumer protection for gamblers across different online gambling operators in Ireland: A descriptive study [open access article]

Cooney, C., Columb, D., Costa, J. et al. (2018). International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-018-9968-7

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the responsible gambling tools which are available to online gamblers at Irish online gambling websites. The present study used a similar methodology to a recent study carried out on the world’s most popular websites (Bonello and Griffiths Gaming Law Review and Economics, 21, 278–285, 2017), where 50 of the most advertised online gambling websites were evaluated in relation to their responsible gambling (RG) practices. The present study evaluated 39 gambling websites with either a “.ie” or “.com/ie” domain. Each website was evaluated by checking for a number of RG practices, including presence of a dedicated RG page; age verification; access to gambling account history; the availability of RG tools, such as limit setting facilities and exclusion settings; and links to limit-setting options on the deposit page. Descriptive statistics were then performed on the results from each website. Of the 39 online gambling operators identified, 22 redirected gamblers to a “.com” domain, while 17 operators remained as a “.ie” domain. Thirty-five websites (89.7%) visited had a dedicated RG page. Responsible gambling features were evaluated and demonstrated to be available in an inconsistent manner across online gambling websites. Irish websites were shown to perform poorly in comparison with non-Irish counterparts in the provision of RG tools. The researchers of the present study are not aware of any similar studies conducted to date in Ireland. Access full article