GambleAware study calls for better access to responsible gambling tools

A GambleAware study utilising behavioural science methodology has highlighted how allowing more frictionless access to responsible gambling tools has a positive impact on alleviating problem-gambling.

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The study has found that actively offering access to responsible gambling tools is effective against problem-gambling. © Pexels.

Researchers at GambleAware’s behavioural insights team (BIT) are working on ways to reduce problem or risky gambling online. For their most recent study, the BIT conducted interviews, used a mystery shopping experiment, and analysed operator data, with the goal of understanding and reducing risky online behaviour.

The interviews, conducted with 16 problem and professional gamblers, revealed that many indiviuals find the nature of online gambling sites to be engrossing yet also seem not real, making money spent on them also seem fake.

The team were also able to work with bet365 and Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G) to test the effects of different behavioural science messages sent to at-risk gamblers. Here, the study made its biggest breakthrough.

The team tested two methods for helping those exhibiting at-risk or problem-gambling characteristics; reducing friction to responsible gambling tools and offering messages of social norms (such as informing individuals that their behaviour is relatively risky compared to others). The team found that across both websites, offering more frictionless access to responsible gambling tools resulted in more people setting deposit limits and taking cooling off periods.

Speaking about the study, the BIT said:

This project has made strides to better understand behaviours related to risky play online. There are simple actions operators can take: for example, simply reducing steps to access responsible gambling tools increased take-up. However, there is still a lot to learn. To make real progress in preventing harm, we need operators to test ambitious and impactful solutions that protect at-risk gamblers. These solutions need to be rigorously tested and scaled across the industry. This will be the core objective of our second phase of work with GambleAware. Statement, GambleAware Behavioural Insights Team

The study has made strides towards better understanding what causes and maintains risky online gambling habits and will hopefully inspire operators to promote their responsible gambling tools.

But, the team pointed out that more impactful solutions must still be found, tested, and then scaled across the industry. This will be the focus of the team’s second phase of study.

You can read the results of the study in full at GambleAware’s website.

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