GambleAware has found that online gamblers decrease the amount they set for themselves by up to 46 percent by eliminating industry-set options for deposit caps.
Behavioural tweaks on sign up
The experiment, sponsored by the national charity, involving 1,700 online gambling customers, to help research from the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), examined whether behavioural tweaks on sign-up would influence the playing patterns of customers in order to provide effective information on reducing player risks.
Current nature of deposit limits
The research set out to evaluate if gambling behaviours are affected by the current nature of deposit limits, to investigate how such instruments are presented to potentially influence behaviour and to assess whether ‘anchoring’ plays a role in player habits.
Participants were observed signing up to three different variants of the deposit limit:
- A ‘business as usual’ version, with the current deposit limit setting tool.
- A dropdown menu which displayed low-value deposit suggestions, with an upper limit of £250 and a text box for customers to freely type a higher amount.
- No displayed deposit options; instead only a blank text box for customers to choose their desired deposit limit.
Researchers found that the lack of high deposit limit options nearly halved the average daily deposit limit players set when compared with a control group.
Of the two deposit interventions, researchers found that, with only the free text box alternative, deposit limits were 46 percent lower and 45 percent lower when faced with lower deposit suggestions.
Principal advisor of consumer markets and business team from the BIT, Rosanna Barry said: “This report is the culmination of a huge amount of detailed work by the team at BIT.
“It shows how seemingly superficial changes to the way that gambling sites offer deposit tools, if implemented across the industry and for all customers, will deliver large benefits to individuals who gamble and society as a whole, without constraining customer choice.”
Subsequently, the study proposes that no values should be presented at all by deposit cap tools and suggests that consumers should be presented with a free text box with no minimum or maximum monetary amounts available or suggested on display.
In addition, the researchers also claim that, without limiting customer options, this will possibly increase the harm-reduction effectiveness of deposit limit instruments.
Tim Miller, executive director of research and policy at the Gambling Commission added: “This is an important study that uses experiences from real consumers to find what actually works to reduce the harms that can come from gambling.
“Importantly, it provides practical options for how gambling operators can strengthen the tools they provide to protect consumers from harm. These are also issues we are seeking responses on through our remote customer interaction consultation and call for evidence, which closes next month.”
GambleAware shared its findings with the UKGC, in which BIT indicated that in relation to the anchoring elements of gambling, further research was needed.
? New report ?— The Behavioural Insights Team (@B_I_Tweets) January 20, 2021
We worked with @GambleAware to see if large deposit limits pre-sets (e.g. £10,000) on online #gambling tools, 'anchor' people to set higher deposit limits for themselves??
Results here ⬇️https://t.co/FxVznUIK14 pic.twitter.com/7fT7hy6tVX