'Chances Are You're About To Lose' Called Effective Safer Gambling Message

November 29, 2023
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​​​​​​​An academic study of US and UK sports bettors has found that new Australian safer gambling messages, including “Chances are you’re about to lose” and “You win some. You lose more”, are more effective than other messages in wide scale use.
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An academic study of US and UK sports bettors has found that new Australian safer gambling messages, including “Chances are you’re about to lose” and “You win some. You lose more.”, are more effective than other messages in wide scale use.

In the study, seven Australian messages were compared to a new UK slogan, “Take time to think”, and a widely used international slogan, “Gamble responsibly”.

“The newer messages are rated as more helpful, attention-grabbing, likely to encourage cutbacks in gambling, and more applicable on a personal level,” the researchers said.

The study suggests that independently developed safer gambling messages could be more effective than repetitive messages or no messaging at all, the researchers said.

The newer messages were perceived as better “in capturing participants’ attention, encouraging them to cut back on their gambling, speaking to them on a personal level, and being perceived as helpful”, the researchers said.

The researchers attributed the effectiveness of the new messages to “cautioning against the adverse outcomes of gambling, such as losses”, while the existing messages were more generic.

Six of the seven new Australian messages performed better among the UK panel than existing messages, the researchers said.  

In the US, however, the slogan “Gamble responsibly” was seen to be among the most believable and understandable messages, perhaps because in the UK it may suffer from over-use, the researchers said.  

The only Australian slogan with a call to action, “What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit”, was perceived as helpful and believable across all groups, which suggests that other slogans could be improved by including a call to action, the academics wrote.

A UK slogan in use between 2015 and 2021, “When the FUN stops, STOP”, was widely criticised and shown to have little or no impact on gambling behaviour, the academics said.

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced plans to develop new safer gambling messages for 2024.

In the US, nearly 40 states have legalised sports betting, but none have mandated independently designed safer gambling messages, according to the researchers.

Limitations of the academic study include the fact that it only included bettors, so did not assess the impact on youth, and it was not able to determine whether gamblers were betting with legal or illegal websites, the researchers said.

The study tested 1,000 sports and race betting participants both in the US and UK.

The research was funded by Australia’s Central Queensland University and was published this month in the journal Addiction Research & Theory.

The academics were: Philip Newall of the University of Bristol; Jamie Torrance of the University of Chester; Alex M.T. Russell of Sydney’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory; and Matthew Rockloff, Matthew Browne and Nerilee Hing of Central Queensland University.

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