New UK Research Finds Gambling Warning Labels Are Ineffective

Researchers from the University of Warwick and CQUniversity in Australia have published their findings after studying 26 operators.

The study involved a survey of 363 online roulette games and suggested the available information about the dangers of gambling was not effective.

Warning labels were presented on separate screens and written in the smallest font size, with the least prominent font boldness chosen.

In one out of five instances, confusing acronyms were being used like “RTP is 97.2973” but no explanation on what this meant was provided (this means return to player is 97.2973% but a player would not necessarily know this, nor know what a return to player rate actually is).

Often, important information was displayed randomly in large pieces of text, which included on average 2,078 words.

A format which warned players about average winnings was proven to be misunderstood by most.

The Gambling Commission provides an optimal format, but 357 games (98.3%) didn’t use it. The Commission uses a format which says, “this game keeps 10% of all money bet on average.”

However, operators insisted on using the format which reads “this game has an average percentage pay-out of 90%”. This is known to be misunderstood by 50% of gamblers.

Previous research has shown only 45.6% of UK gamblers can correctly identify the return-to-player information out of four alternatives.

Information that warned gamblers was only accessible by opening at least one other screen; the study found this required an average of 1.3 mouse clicks form the main roulette table.

Dr Lukasz Walasek of the University of Warwick Department of Psychology said: “It is hard to imagine this information could be less ‘easily available’ than we observed. Even though our objective was to document the regulator’s mandated risk information, we found it rather hard to find these details.”

Dr Philip Newall of CQUniversity added: “Stronger regulations on the prominent provision of understandable risk information are needed to better inform online gamblers as a part of the Government’s upcoming review of online gambling.”

The Gambling Commission insists online casino games it regulates should provide easily available information about the risks associated with play.

(Photo: flickr)

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