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Ease of access key for effective RG tools, GambleAware says

| By iGB Editorial Team
Operators should cut the number of clicks before a customer can access a responsible gambling tool, researchers say

Online gaming customers are more likely to make use of responsible gambling tools if such measures are easy to access, rather than if they are told that their behaviour is a relative cause for concern, a new study has suggested.

In trials conducted with leading UK operators bet365 and Sky Betting and Gaming, it was discovered that reducing friction was found to have the most significant impact on uptake in responsible gambling support services. Friction can be reduced by cutting the number of clicks required before a tool could be accessed, as well as making the solution more visible on an iGaming site.

The project was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), a consultancy that uses behavioural economics and pyschology to improve government policy and consumer services in the UK. It saw BIT work with Bet365 and Sky Bet to email different types of intervention messages to more than 20,000 customers across the two operators over the summer.

The aim was to gauge the impact of different types of messages by discovering whether the individual signed up to a responsible gambling tool – such as setting a deposit limit or a temporarily self-excluding – within five days of receiving the message.

In the Sky Bet trial customers were sent an introductory message on responsible gambling, as well as personalised feedback showing how their gambling habits differed from the average user. This highlighted variables such as deposits and time spent gambling, among others. 

The customers were then sent a message that included more feedback and “reduced friction” by providing a direct link the responsible gambling tool on the Sky Bet site. They were sent a final email which asked whether they felt still in control of their gambling, with the message including more feedback on gambling habits.

The bet365 customers, meanwhile, were sent a link to the responsible gambling resource via email after an introductory message. This was followed by an email with feedback of their gambling habits, and finally a message combining the feedback and directing them to the responsible gambling tools.

In both trials, making linking directly to the responsible gambling tools and increasing their visibility proved more effective than sharing feedback on player habits.

“Although social norm feedback is a well-evidenced intervention for changing behaviour in many other contexts and there is indicative evidence that it can reduce risky play, we do not observe an effect in either of our trials,” the study explained.

“We also do not see an effect of prompting users to reflect on their behaviour in the main analysis of the Sky Bet trial. However, the trials suggest that reducing friction is an effective way of increasing uptake of responsible gambling tools and that the effect is proportionate to the degree of friction removed from the customer journey.”

Although the guidelines for follow-up research have not been finalised, and will be developed further following discussions with the GambleAware steering group, BIT suggested focusing on “high-risk users” only. It noted that around 92% of those who gamble would not fall into unhealthy play patterns.

However, BIT added that operators’ algorithms should be used to highlight those at-risk, as well as broadening its scope to target players close to being at-risk.

“This would allow for a more preventative approach, intervening on those players likely to be problem gamblers before the problem behaviour begins,” BIT added.

The researchers also suggested that operations should adjust key touchpoints along the user journey to minimise the risk of problem gambling in the long term, including lower minimum stakes and removing adverts that sit alongside games and targeted offers that appear in push notifications.

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