One of the draft person of UK’s responsible gambling campaign refuted several claims that the message they were trying to convey is going against their proposed goals.
Last week, the United Kingdom media delightedly published several details of a novel study by the University of Warwick on how effective the WTFSS – ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop’ responsible gambling campaign is.
The When the Fun Stops, Stop campaign was created by the Senet Group in 2015. They count numerous UK betting and gambling industry bigwigs among its numerous members.
In the study, 506 participants were shown unreal online gambling ads. Some of the ads had the WTFSS label in them, while others had no label. All the participants of the study had experience with online betting. They were given a series of p £0.10 bonuses. They had the option of using the bonus to wager on football or not.
The researchers discovered that the participants decided to bet 37.8% when they didn’t see the WTFSS label. The number increased to 41.3% when they saw the label.
Although the researchers admitted that the difference was trivial, they however came to a conclusion that the WTFSS label “did not achieve its aim of prompting more responsible gambling behavior in the experiment.”
They also had problems with the fact that the term ‘fun’ was considerably bigger than other words in the WTFSS label.
A strategy director at The Corner a creative agency in London, Ollie Gilmore called their study bollocks. He is part of the WTFSS campaign team. On Tuesday, Gilmore wrote an op-ed for Campaign Live where he said that the study by Warwick had major flaws in them.
As a matter of fact, Gilmore noted that the aim of the When The Fun Stops, Stop campaign was to “reduce the likelihood of gamblers entering problem territory.”
A major point is to keep gamblers from betting more than they should or can afford.
Gilmore is of the opinion that it is “a stretch” to reason that gamblers would feel they had gone too far by betting 10 pence. It’s less so when the said money they used for betting was not their own. Gilmore termed this as “a clear departure from actual signs of entering problem gambling territory in real life.”
Gilmore also had problems with claims as regards the size of ‘fun’ in the WTFSS label. He noted that the label they used in the Warwick study was an outdated one. He also said that the label used by the study missed the recent label’s specific references to the ‘18+’ tag and GambleAware.
Gilmore further went on to say that industry surveys revealed 1/3rd of people who gamble more than 2 times in a month said that the When The Fun Stops, Stop campaign had “made me think about my gambling behavior,”.
This made Gilmore believe that it’s in direct contrast to the point the Warwick researchers’ were trying to prove that the campaign was useless.
In conclusion, Gilmore admitted that any campaign can be improved but “a campaign as important as this requires informed judgment, not just attention-grabbing headlines.”