Responsible gambling campaigns are one measure enacted by a number of statutory bodies and gambling operators in response to concerns about gambling marketing and the accessibility of modern gambling products. For example, since 2015 a number of the UK‘s largest gambling operators have attached the following warning label to TV and shop window adverts: “when the FUN stops, stop” (where the word “fun” is printed in noticeably larger font than any other word). Here we present an initial independent test of this warning label‘s effect on contemporaneous gambling behavior.
A short incentivized survey was conducted to mimic the scenario of online gambling advertising, with warning label presence manipulated between-participants. Participants were given a sequence of nine £0.10 bonuses, and on each trial were presented with the possibility to gamble this bonus on a soccer bet, with bet details and payoffs taken from a major gambling operator‘s website. There were 506 unique participants who had all previously indicated that they were Premier League soccer fans and had experience in online sports betting.
Overall, participants decided to bet on 41.3% of trials when a warning label was shown, compared to 37.8% when no warning label shown (i.e., descriptively the label increases the probability of gambling). According to the preregistered analysis plan, this difference was not significant, (χ^2 (1)=2.10, p=.15) The “when the FUN stops, stop” gambling warning label did not achieve its aim of prompting more responsible gambling behavior in the experiment. Article pre-print available online
Citation: Newall, P., Walasek, L., Singmann, H., & Ludvig, E. (2019). Testing a gambling warning label’s effect on behavior. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/dxfkj.
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
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.
Access online article
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
Abstract: The Swedish gambling market faces a major change in legislation that will allow foreign-based companies to apply for a gambling licence in Sweden. A key element in the new legislation are consumer protection measures. The Swedish gambling market is currently divided between licensed companies and non-Swedish-based companies providing online gambling services without a licence in Sweden. How these companies view their responsibility for preventing gambling-related harm and how prepared they are for the new regulations are important questions regarding the new Swedish gambling market. Access full report
Citation: David Forsström & Jenny Cisneros Örnberg. (2018). Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/1455072518802492