Study Claims Frequent Gambling Messages Limit Player Losses

A new study by Sally M. Gainsbury and Robert M. Heirene of the University of Sydney, Australia examined how gambling messages promoting limits impact the behavior of gamblers.

Study Examines How Gambling Messages Impact Gambling Behavior

A new pre-print study by the Brain & Mind Center, School of Psychology, Science Faculty, University of Sydney, Australia examined the impact of messages promoting gambling limits on gambling behavior. The study by Sally M. Gainsbury and Robert M. Heirene found that sending messages to customers is an inexpensive method and “can lead to small but impactful increases in the uptake of deposit limits on gambling sites“. Four Australian sports and racing wagering websites participated in the new study.

Minimizing the harm associated with online gambling may be achieved with the help of deposit limits, but the voluntary uptake from customers is too low. This is one of the reasons why the study was aiming at determining the effectiveness of sending messages to customers promoting deposit limits. Furthermore, the pre-print study also sought to examine the effects of the gambling limits on the behavior of the clients.

To engage the customers, messages were sent to chosen individuals via e-mail or by sending in-account notification. There were 3 main message categories:

  • Informative messages, outlining the purpose and availability of the deposit limit tool
  • Social messages, describing the benefits which people have from using the tool
  • Personal messages, sharing the individual benefits which people that use the tool receive

The Pre-print Study Results

There were 31,989 participants in the hypotheses tests. Each participant has placed bets for at least 5 days in the last 30 days. After screening for eligibility, the total number of participants was reduced to 26,516. Researchers have collected customer account data for a period of 90 days pre- and post-messages. A control group of participants was also established with people who did not receive messages. The control group was monitored for result comparison.

Setting deposit limits was associated with decreased gambling intensity, expenditure, and losses and may therefore be an effective harm-reduction strategy,”

Robert M. Heirene and Sally M. Gainsbury

The study found out that 161 or 0.71% of the customers actioned and set a deposit limit within five days of receiving the messages. Furthermore, it was determined that customers who received the in-account message were more likely to set a deposit limit than the ones who received the message via e-mail. The message content did not have a significant impact on the uptake of deposit limits by the clients. Focusing on the customers who set limits, the study found significant decreases in average daily wager amount when comparing the results to a randomly selected customer without a set limit.

Australia leads the way in the number of gamblers as a percentage of the population. The country has the highest gambling losses per capita, which is around $24 billion per annum. As a result, gambling-related harm and problems are widely spread. Only recently, a report by Australia’s National Research Organization for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) released a study, outlining a relationship between problem gambling and domestic violence.

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