UK Study Suggests 'Think' Slogan Had No Effect On Gambling Habits

March 9, 2023
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​​​​​​​A new academic study has concluded that the UK gambling industry’s safer gambling message, “Take time to think”, shows “no credible effect” on gambling behaviour.

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A new academic study has concluded that the UK gambling industry’s safer gambling message, “Take time to think”, shows “no credible effect” on gambling behaviour.

Even a prominent display of the message seemed to have no impact on gambling behaviour, including the proportion of available funds bet, requests for help information, average speed of play and number of roulette spins, according to academics.

The study was published on Wednesday (March 8) in the Behavioural Public Policy journal by Cambridge University Press.

In October 2021, UK industry trade group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) replaced an earlier slogan, “When the fun stops, stop” with the “Take time to think” message, which it said it developed in conjunction with consumers, government officials, academics and operators.

The earlier phrase had been criticised as seeking to link gambling to “fun”.

But the researchers found that the newer slogan had no discernible impact compared with no messaging at all, when tested on a sample of more than 2,000 UK-based online gamblers.

They concluded that the fact the slogan had no effect on speed of play to be “especially striking”, as it explicitly suggests players “take time”.

The researchers, principally from the University of Warwick, suggested that safer gambling messages be used alongside a range of interventions, such as improved support services, changes to the games themselves or a universal system of pre-commitments to time and spending limits.

Also effective could be personalised messages addressing the player’s own gambling habits, the researchers said.

The BGC responded that its “Take time to think” message “will encourage even more customers to pause and consider whether to make use of the wide range of safer gambling tools that are available. That will enable them to stay in control of their betting.”

“The efforts BGC members are making to promote safer gambling are in stark contrast to the all too easily available unsafe, unregulated black market online,” the trade group said in an emailed statement.

Separately, the BGC said its Safer Gambling Week in October helped spur 200,000 accounts to set deposit limits that month, a 12.5 percent increase over the same month a year earlier.

About 61 percent of the players setting deposit limits did so for the first time, the group said.

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