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Background and aims

The broadcast of wagering advertisements during televised sports matches has been associated with various adverse outcomes. In order to counter these effects, legislative bodies require wagering operators to include responsible gambling messages in their advertisements; however, the effectiveness of these messages is unclear. This study sought to examine the extent to which responsible gambling messages are looked at, in the wider context of gambling advertisements.

Methods

Forty-nine regular sports bettors and 10 non-gamblers viewed a series of sports betting advertisements, while an eye-tracker recorded the number of fixations placed on responsible gambling messages, as well as other text-based wagering content.

Results

Responsible gambling messages were, generally, presented in a non-conspicuous manner. Eye-tracking data revealed that significantly fewer fixations were placed on responsible gambling messages, compared to wagering information (p < .001); however, this effect did not differ according to level of gambling risk (p = .169). The number of fixations placed on the different types of responsible gambling messages was found to vary, based on gambling risk (p = .006), as well as, what appears to be, the physical characteristics of these messages.

Discussion

Very few fixations were placed on, or near, responsible gambling messages, compared to other wagering information, meaning that, in their current form, they are unlikely to be effective in protecting against gambling harm. Preliminary evidence shows that presenting messages on a high-contrast/block-color background increases the number of fixations on these.

Conclusion

Further research is needed to identify ways of increasing the effectiveness of responsible gambling initiatives in the sports betting context.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Nerilee Hing, Matthew Rockloff, Alex M. T. Russell, Matthew Browne, Philip Newall, Nancy Greer, Daniel L. King, and Hannah Thorne

Abstract

Background and aims

Purchasing loot boxes in digital games is akin to gambling as it involves risking money for a chance-based reward of uncertain value. Research has linked buying loot boxes to problem gambling amongst adolescents, but has not examined co-occurring gambling participation. This study examined links between loot box purchasing and problem gambling amongst adolescents while controlling for monetary gambling participation.

Methods

Two survey samples of Australians aged 12–17 years were recruited through advertisements (n = 843) and online panels (n = 826). They included n = 421 and n = 128 adolescents, respectively, who met criteria for problem gambling.

Results

Past-month loot box purchasing was significantly related to gambling problems in bivariate analyses. When including age, gender and past-month monetary gambling, loot box purchases were still associated with at-risk and problem gambling in both samples. As expected, these other predictors attenuated the predictive value of recent loot box purchases in relation to gambling problems. The odds-ratios, nevertheless, were still in the predicted direction and remained significant. When controlling for monetary gambling, age and gender, recent loot box purchasing increased the odds of problem gambling 3.7 to 6.0 times, and at-risk gambling 2.8 to 4.3 times.

Discussion and conclusions

While causal relationships between loot box purchasing and problem gambling remain unclear, the results indicate that loot boxes disproportionately attract adolescents experiencing gambling problems, adding to the financial stress already caused by gambling. Consumer protection measures, youth and parental education, and age restrictions on loot box games are needed to protect young people.

Open access