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Study: 44.9% of players stop betting for day after mandatory “play breaks”

| By Marese O'Hagan
A study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies has reported that 41% of high-volume players stop depositing for the remainder of the day after a mandatory break, while 44.9% stop wagering.
Gambling Commission

The study aimed to evaluate the effects of 60-minute mandatory “play breaks” as responsible gambling tools for online casino players in Britain.

European gambling operator Skillonnet provided anonymised data from a number of UK-based online casino sites between 23 July and 15 September 2021, with 2,021 players taking part in total.

The control period, where players gambled as normal without any mandatory play breaks, took place between 23 July and 18 August 2021. The treatment period, in which a 60-minute play break was enforced after the players’ tenth deposits, took place between 20 August and 15 September.

During the control period, the players produced 1,461 “events” – which the study defines as depositing money more than ten times in one calendar day. Within the treatment period, 1,533 events took place.

The study concluded that the 60-minute mandatory break impacts how customers deposit and wager after the 60 minutes is over, with 41% of players not depositing for the rest of the day and 44.9% deciding not to wager.

During the control period, an average of 73% of players who deposited at least ten times went on to deposit 11 times in a single day at some point in the measured period. For the treatment period, this percent was 32%.

The average age of players who deposited more than ten times a day at least once during the control period was 38.28 years old, and 56% were female. For the treatment period, the average age was 38.24 and 64% were female.

“This means that a mandatory play break in an online casino setting seems to prevent overspending during a short period of time,” the study said. “The results do not support previous assumptions and findings that mandatory play breaks lead to increased gambling afterwards.”

The study also looked at whether the 60-minute breaks impacted customer loyalty over a longer period of time.

For the control period, a total of 301 players deposited at least ten times in one day between 23-29 July. Of these players, 124 wagered at least once during the final seven days of the control period, 12-18 August.

In comparison, 163 players out of 333 in the treatment group wagered at least once at the end of that period.

This meant that the portion who wagered at least once was 7.7% higher at the end of the control period than at the end of the treatment period, a difference that it said was statistically significant, suggesting a small drop-off in customer loyalty from the breaks.

The study was undertaken by Mark Griffiths and Michael Auer. Griffiths acted as an advisor for Allwyn’s successful bid for the UK National Lottery tender, and has helped shape Entain’s responsible gambling strategy.

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