Authors:Nerilee Hing, Peter Vitartas and Matthew Lamont
Background and aims
Despite recent growth in sports betting advertising, minimal research has examined the influence of different advertising message attributes on betting attitudes and behaviors. This study aimed to identify which attributes of sports betting advertisements most engage attention, interest, desire and likelihood of betting among non-problem, low-risk, moderate-risk, and problem gamblers.
A novel approach utilizing an experimental design incorporating conjoint analysis examined the effects of: three message formats (commentary, on-screen display, and studio crossover); four appeals (neutral, jovial, ease of placing the bet, and sense of urgency); three types of presenters (match presenter, sports betting operator, and attractive non-expert female presenter); and four bet types (traditional, exotic key event, risk-free, and micro-bet). A professional film company using paid actors produced 20 mock television advertisements simulating typical gambling messages based on the conjoint approach. These were embedded into an online survey of 611 Australian adults.
The most attention-grabbing attributes were type of presenter and type of bet. The attractive non-expert female presenter gained more attention from all gambler groups than other presenters. The type of bet was most persuasive in converting attention into likely betting among all gambler groups, with the risk-free bet being much more persuasive than other bet types. Problem gamblers were distinct by their greater attraction to in-play micro-bets.
Discussion and conclusion
Given the potential for incentivized bets offering financial inducements and for in-play micro-bets to undermine harm minimization and consumer protection, regulators and wagering operators should reconsider whether these bet types are consistent with their responsible gambling objectives.