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Deposit Limit Prompt in Online Gambling for Reducing Gambling Intensity: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology. University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 10, article id 639Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pre-commitment tools – allowing users of gambling services to pre-set a limit for how much money they may spend – are relatively common. However, there exist no clear evidence of their effectiveness in preventing gamblers from spending more money than they otherwise planned. The aim of the study was to compare gambling intensity between users of an online gambling service prompted to set a deposit limit and non-prompted customers, both in the whole sample and among most active users based on the total number of gambling days. Prospective customers of a publicly governed gambling operator from Finland were randomized to receive a prompt to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size either (1) at registration, (2) before or (3) after their first deposit, or (4) to an unprompted control condition. Data on customers from Finland with online slots as a preferred gambling category (N = 4328) were tracked in the platform for 90 days starting at account registration, gambling intensity being measured with aggregated net loss. The intervention groups did not differ from each other in either proportion of participants with positive net loss or size of positive net loss. The pooled intervention group did not differ from the control group regarding proportion of gamblers with positive net loss (OR = 1.0; p = 0.921) or size of net loss (B = -0.1; p = 0.291). The intervention groups had higher rates of limit-setters compared to the control condition (ORat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit = 11.9/9.2/4.1). Customers who have increased/removed a previously set deposit limit had higher net loss than the limit-setters who have not increased/removed their limit (Bat-registration/pre-deposit/post-deposit/control = 0.7/0.6/1.0/1.3), and unprompted limit-setters lost more than unprompted non-setters (B = 1.0). Prompting online gamblers to set a voluntary deposit limit of optional size did not affect subsequent net loss compared to unprompted customers, motivating design and evaluation of alternative pre-commitment tools. Setting a deposit limit without a prompt or increasing/removing a previously set limit may be a marker of gambling problems and may be used to identify customers in need of help.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 10, article id 639
Keywords [en]
problem gambling, online gambling, responsible gambling, deposit limit, pre-commitment, natural gambling environment, consumer protection
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167398DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00639ISI: 000462635100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-167398DiVA, id: diva2:1299796
Available from: 2019-03-28 Created: 2019-03-28 Last updated: 2020-01-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Responsible provision of online gambling: Effects, usability and gamblers’ experiences of protective measures implemented in online gambling environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Responsible provision of online gambling: Effects, usability and gamblers’ experiences of protective measures implemented in online gambling environments
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Problem gambling is considered a public health problem in many countries and is associated with serious financial and health-related harms for both problem gamblers and significant others. It is possible to create gambling environments that would promote sustainable gambling behaviors and prevent excessive gambling. However, research on the effectiveness of tools for responsible provision of gambling is scarce and the quality of the research is low. Also, there exists a conflict of interest between making a profit when providing gambling and protecting vulnerable customers. The general aim of the project was to study the effects, usability and gamblers’ experiences of tools for responsible provision of online gambling. Study I evaluated the effects of a prompt to set voluntary deposit-limit of optional size among 4,328 customers of an online gambling platform. During the data collection period, all customers from Finland registering an account on the gambling platform were randomized into being prompted to set a deposit-limit either 1) at-registration, 2) before their first deposit, 3) after their first deposit or 4) to an unprompted control group. Gambling intensity, measured with aggregated net loss, was tracked during 90 days after registration. No differences in gambling intensity between the intervention and control groups were found neither on the whole-group level (B (95% CI) =-0.080 (-0.229-0.069), p=.291), nor in the subgroup of the most involved gamblers (B (95% CI) =0.042(-0.359-0.442), p=.838). Study II aimed at predicting gaming freeze (as a proxy parameter for problem gambling) in online gamblers. For the sample of N=2,618 (N=1,309 freezers), a total of 105 predictors were created based on the data tracked by the gambling platform. The analysis was carried out using the machine learning method Random Forest. The predictive accuracy of the model applied to the dataset was 0.615, with a specificity of 0.686 and a sensitivity of 0.543. Study III aimed at investigating non-problem gamblers’ experiences of protective measures. A total of N=10,200 active customers of an online gambling platform were asked to rate their previous experiences of protective tools, their inclination to abandon a gambling service due to perceived overexposure to protective measures and answer questions on their symptoms of problem gambling. N=1,223 responded to the questionnaire, with the majority of the sample being moderate-risk gamblers (38.5%), followed by low-risk gamblers (26.8%), non-problem gamblers (18.9%) and problem gamblers (15.8%). In general, non-problem gamblers were not more disturbed by protective measures than other categories of gamblers. More problem gamblers have previously abandoned a gambling service due to perceived overexposure to protective measures compared to non-problem gamblers (OR(95% CI)= 7.17(3.61-14.23), p<.001). In conclusion, a prompt to set a voluntary deposit-limit of optional size did not appear to be effective in decreasing gambling intensity in online gamblers, indicating the need of evaluating alternative designs. Predicting gaming freezes in the current project resulted in a low accuracy, indicating that gaming freeze is not suitable as a proxy measurement for problem gambling and suggesting the need for collecting subjective data on symptoms of problem gambling. The results of Study III suggest that protective measures can be tested and implemented without the risk of disturbing recreational gamblers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2020. p. 74
Keywords
Problem gambling, responsible gambling, responsible provision of gambling, deposit limit, prediction of gambling problems, experiences of responsible gambling tools, attitudes towards responsible gambling tools, online gambling
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176230 (URN)978-91-7797-921-0 (ISBN)978-91-7797-922-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-13, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-12-18 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2020-01-28Bibliographically approved

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