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Research calls for greater transparency around online gambling to help reduce harm

21st Oct 2022 Joe Williams

Research calls for greater transparency around online gambling to help reduce harm

New research from Bournemouth University looks at how online gambling operators promote information about safer gambling on their websites to their customers.

London, 21/10/2022 Providing individuals with more transparent information about online games and promotional materials on gambling websites is essential to reducing gambling harms, according to a new study released today. 

The paper, which is part of the Responsible Gambling Projects, commissioned by GambleAware, presents the findings of four separate studies. 

Key recommendations from the research include:

  • Gambling operators should deliver information about genuine probability of winning in a game rather than exaggerated return rates.
  • Educational content should be provided by operators to target gamblers’ misperceptions of how games work, potential risks of gambling and safer gambling behaviour
  • Individuals should be provided with transparency on purposes of data collection and possible consequences resulting from using the data (e.g., receiving personalised feedback or being excluded from the website)

The research, led by Bournemouth University, was undertaken to review how safer gambling messages are delivered and to what extent transparency is present when operators provide information to customers. 

The paper notes that previous research within the gambling industry has highlighted the use of unfair or misleading promotional techniques, such as ‘free play’ promotions and unclear pay-out rates, as well as the lack of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.

The four pieces of work contributing to the paper include:

  • An initial scoping review to map the extent and diversity of peer reviewed academic research into online gambling, including safer gambling practices 
  • A narrative review of transparency in persuasive and immersive technologies, and in online marketing.
  • A systematic review of transparency in safer and responsible gambling, including recommendations for best practice.
  • A content analysis of transparency present in UK gambling operator websites.

Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive, GambleAware said:

“This report makes some important recommendations for gambling operators to place greater focus and importance on safer gambling messages on their websites and ensure people are aware of the risks. This research serves as further proof that we need to see the gambling White Paper published as soon as possible to avoid further gambling harm.”

The full review provides further guidance for the gambling industry and other stakeholders (including policy makers and researchers) to inform future best practices and regulations in promoting responsible and safer gambling.

The latest report findings also offer recommendations for the gambling industry and stakeholders, on how safer gambling information is positioned on websites, how they use engaging materials, such as videos and about algorithm uses within marketing may help prevent gambling-related harm. 

Please contact our media and public affairs team at: 
Direct line: +44 (0)7729 120230 

About GambleAware

  • GambleAware is the leading charity (Charity No. England & Wales 1093910, Scotland SC049433) working to keep people safe from gambling harms. We do this by leading public health campaigns, education programmes and driving the transformation of treatment and prevention services. 
  • Every year we fund access to free, confidential treatment for nearly 12,000 people and over 41,000 calls to the National Gambling Helpline. 
  • GambleAware is an independent charity, accountable to the Charity Commission, with an extremely robust system of governance processes in place. The majority of our Board of trustees are leaders within the NHS and public health sector. 
  • We work in close collaboration with the NHS, clinicians, local and national government, gambling treatment providers, as well as other services like mental health, substance misuse and criminal justice, to ensure that the whole system works together to help people suffering from gambling harms. 
  • Our research shows that one in 10 people who gamble are at risk of experiencing gambling harms. Gambling can harm people and their families financially, psychologically and physically. GambleAware works in close collaboration with leading organisations and experts including the NHS, government, local authorities and gambling treatment providers, to ensure that people get the information, support and treatment they need. 
  • GambleAware is a commissioner of independent evidence-informed prevention and treatment services in partnership with expert organisations and agencies across Great Britain, with over £56 million of funding under active management.