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GRA research shows disparity between interest in and usage of betting limits

| By Nosa Omoigui
Gamblers in Australia often refrain from setting betting limits despite showing interest in doing so, according to research commissioned by Gambling Research Australia (GRA).
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CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory (EGRL) experts found that 41% of the 3,141 bettors in the study – surveyed over a four-week trial period – set a deposit limit when gambling, while over half of the players considered themselves “unlikely” to set one.

However, those who set limits found them useful, with a quarter finding the intervention helped prevent overspending at least once a week. Over the course of the trial, 32% of players adopted at least one type of betting limit.

In addition, the research showed that uptake on setting betting limits is actually low when the practice is voluntary. The trial showed that high-risk gamblers were reluctant to set limits, while those considered low risk didn’t see the need to set a betting limit.

During the trial’s discrete choice experiment, in which consumers were asked about their preferences for betting limit messaging, the optimum betting limit prompt was found to be “Do you monitor how much you spend on betting? Manage your online wagering”. The terminology emphasised “managing and self-monitoring” as opposed to “constraining and information”, or “improving and self-appraisal”.

Lead author and CQUniversity research professor Nerilee Hing found that deposit restrictions were the most popular tools among players, followed by an overall spend limit, a single bet amount limit, and a loss limit.

Online operators in Australia have been required to allow players to set deposit limits, as well as sending regular prompts to review said limits. CQUniversity’s research suggests that implementing such a mandatory scheme, in addition to capping maximum limits, would strengthen harm prevention.  

Professor Hing said: “Of those with more serious gambling problems, 45.6% were setting at least one limit. This is encouraging, however as this group benefits the most from opt-in limits, the fact that more than half aren’t taking that option suggests there’s still a need to address why people are unwilling to limit their betting.

“The study showed that prompt messages need to be consistent to allow gamblers to self-reflect. Then we see better uptake of limits.”

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