The warning message on gambling advertisements doesn’t stop people from betting, a new study has found.
Academics from the University of Warwick investigated Senet Group’s responsible gambling slogan “When the fun stops, stop” and found that the warning failed to impact the behaviour of gamblers. The researchers, from the University’s psychology department, suggested this could be because the word “fun” is printed in a larger font than the rest of the message.
According to The Guardian, the researchers asked 506 people who said they were fans of Premier League Football and had betting experience to make a wager after viewing the adverts, some of which included the warning and some of which didn’t.
The researchers found that the participators who viewed the warning wagered more than those who did no. After analysing the results, the researchers concluded that the warning failed to promote responsible gambling.
Gillian Wilmot, the Chairman of the Senet Group who created the slogan, said in a statement that the warning “generated substantial awareness of the link between negative emotional states and problem gambling, giving young men an accessible phrase to challenge each other’s behaviour in a way that has now passed into popular culture.
“Discouraging all betting was never its purpose. Instead, it aims to get gamblers to pause and reflect, in much the same way as the Bet Regret messaging.”
Wilmot then suggested that the firm was considering reducing the size of the word “fun” in the message. She said: “Last year, we initiated a review of the campaign, informed by a substantial behavioural study, and the new creative will reflect a chance to the relative size of the word fun in response to feedback.”
Dr Lukasz Walasek, one of the study’s authors, added: “The purpose of the ‘When the fun stops, stop’ warning label is to encourage more responsible gambling behaviour. Yet there is hardly any evidence suggesting that such labels are effective.”
The news comes just days after several sports player associations stated that gambling is the biggest mental health challenge in modern-day sports and sportspeople.
Player associations such as the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and the Rugby Player’s Association (PRA) expressed concern over gambling in the sports industry.
Meanwhile, the UK government’s gambling advertisement ban during live sports launched last week to coincide with the start of the Ashes cricket series. Under the ban, gambling advertisements cannot air on television five minutes before the match and five minutes after.