GambleAware pushes for flexibility on deposit limits following BIT study

GambleAware has backed new findings published by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), urging for more operators to provide customers flexibility in setting their own deposit limits. 

A BIT study, conducted on 1,700 bet365 customers, analysed whether behavioural tweaks on sign-up would impact customers’ playing habits, with a view to provide effective information on reducing player risks. 

The trial set out to determine whether current ‘design of deposit limits’ influences players’ gambling behaviours, with the BIT research team judging whether the psychological effects of ‘anchoring’ played a role in player wagering habits once deposit limits were established.

bet365 participants were observed signing up to three separate deposit limit variants:

  • A ‘business as usual’ version, with the current deposit limit setting tool.  
  • A dropdown menu which displayed low-value deposit suggestions, with an upper limit of £250 and a text box for customers to freely type a higher amount.
  • A ‘blank textbox’ deposit amount and only provided with a text box, to freely type their desired deposit limit.

When compared against a ‘control group’, BIT’s research found that the absence of high deposit limit options almost halved the average daily deposit limit players set.

Of the two deposit interventions offered, BIT found that deposit limits were 46% lower with just the free text box option and 45% lower when presented with lower deposit suggestions.

As a result, BIT recommended that operator deposit tools should be presented as a blank textbox, offering no ‘pre-set values’ for customers who should be offered flexibility when choosing their own limits.

BIT underscored that its behavioural analysis could ‘improve the harm-reduction efficacy of deposit limit tools, without constraining choices for the consumer’.

“This report is the culmination of a huge amount of detailed work by the team at BIT,” stated Rosanna Barry, BIT Consumer Markets Principal Advisor

“It shows how seemingly superficial changes to the way that gambling sites offer deposit tools, if implemented across the industry and for all customers, will deliver large benefits to individuals who gamble and society as a whole, without constraining customer choice.”  

GambleAware has shared its findings with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), in which BIT stated that more research was required in connection to ‘anchoring elements’ of gambling.

Following the BIT study, GambleAware has urged the UKGC for blank textbox deposit limits to be listed as the preferred mechanism of its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.

Tim Miller, Executive Director of Research and Policy at the Gambling Commission, responded: “This is an important study that uses experiences from real consumers to find what actually works to reduce the harms that can come from gambling. 

“Importantly, it provides practical options for how gambling operators can strengthen the tools they provide to protect consumers from harm. 

“These are also issues we are seeking responses on through our remote customer interaction consultation and call for evidence, which closes next month.”

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