About personalizing Responsible Gaming messages (IV)

(continued from previous issue)

By Dan Iliovici, Vicepresident, ROMBET

We have reached the last part of the study*1 presentation “Responsible Gaming Message Personalization Strategies“, with the hope that it could be useful for regulators, operators and those directly involved in the creation and transmission of Responsible Gaming messages.

It is important to remember the conclusion of the study:
“This research makes an important contribution to the field, demonstrating that the formulation of the message (responsible gaming, n.m.) will influence its effectiveness in different ways for different groups of players, to involve them in the use of risk reduction tools.”

Thus, as expected, a single message, addressed to all, without taking into account the segmentation of consumers (players), has a much lower effectiveness than personalized messages, adapted to the target audience / groups.

“This research is the first study to empirically consider the content of Responsible Gaming (JR) messages addressed to identifiable player segments. In this study, thematic differences were found between subgroups of players. This was observed both in the wording of the message (for example tone) and in the response to the action (ie the RG tool) which they were asked to consider.

Young adults were drawn to tips to help them become “better” players, messages that could be used to offer suggestions for losing less money (for example, not tracking losses). This is in line with research that suggests that young people are more prone to misconceptions about gambling, such as the idea that gambling can be controlled. The focus group argued that participants would find the information in the questionnaire and the list “beneficial” and that they would use the tools to “better understand what they were looking at” when placing bets.

Instead, older adults looked for easier messages that focused on keeping gambling fun. Older adults were also attracted to boundary-setting functions that were not as popular among other groups. Older adults, many of whom have a fixed income, can benefit from tools that help them to be aware of how much money they spend on gambling.

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The gambling self-assessment test and limiting tools were viewed more positively by Frequent Players. Frequency of gambling participation has been identified as an indicator for problem gambling, and these messages lead recipients to assess their own level and style of gambling, and also suggest a tool that can be used. to help them keep their gambling at affordable levels.

Gamblers who require a certain skill (e.g. sports betting or nm poker players) preferred more direct communication, considering themselves able to incorporate information into their gambling behavior, including the potential risks of gambling.

Frequent players were interested in resources to help them keep track of their expenses – such as activity statements in the Game Summary tool. This is consistent with the Philander and Gainsbury study, which suggests that because those who play games with a skill are more likely to develop illusions of control over their ability, messages for these players should encourage players to be careful. to the element of chance (luck nm) in games. The information contained in the Game Summary also serves as a reminder for skill game players to pay attention to the game sessions (their duration, n.m.) and their expenses. Players of recreational skills may exhibit impulsive personality traits and show signs of loss recovery behaviors, and this message may encourage them to use the Game Summary tool as a way to stay aware of the costs of this behavior.

It has been found that messages are more likely to be persuasive if they promote positive attitudes toward the desired behavior. Motivation can be improved by reducing the “cost” of compliance, increasing the perceived ability to perform a certain action, using a positive framed message and appealing to the individual’s sense of value. Gamblers may be more likely to get involved with responsible gaming resources if they feel that these resources are being used regularly by their peers and the people they respect. Focus group participants constantly discussed the importance of not being supportive or critical.

Messages based on education and awareness are a tool that the field of gambling has adopted in the field of public health more widely, with mixed success. Customizing responsible gaming messages and adapting responsible gaming tools based on age, gambling frequency, and the type of gambling activities can increase message efficiency and subsequent involvement with RG resources.

Studies show that it is more effective to use messages that encourage players to consider (analyze, n.m.) their own games of chance, rather than providing explicit instructions or information, a finding also confirmed by participants in this study. When individuals generate their own arguments and conclusions, they are more convinced than the statements provided by external sources.”

Limitations and future research
“While focus groups are very useful for in-depth exploration of topics, attitudes and concerns, the findings may not be generalizable due to the limited sample. (…) The results are also limited by the fact that they took into account only four segments, each with a certain degree of overlap. Gambling operators may be able to segment their player databases in more sophisticated ways.

Further research should aim at analyzing gambler databases to identify at-risk players using more complex segmentation, connected to a theoretical understanding of persuasive messages and experimental design. Such an approach could include qualitative research more specific to the given jurisdiction, followed by field experiments testing more message options. Future work should also consider the transmission of messages in terms of transmission, frequency and duration. Each of these factors is important for effective communication.

Finally, it is important to note that gambler preferences are not the only consideration in designing public health strategies. While players may prefer one responsible gaming tool to another, this does not mean that it is the most effective tool. As such, an important role for JR messages and public health communication strategies is to effectively describe the resources available to improve understanding between relevant groups and to assess their outcomes, even where there is no intrinsic interest in their use.

Conclusions
By focusing the messages on a specific target audience, the messages can be developed to achieve greater responsiveness and individual compliance. Our research suggests that there are some commonalities in the components of the message that are perceived to be most effective in encouraging the adoption of preventive and risk-reducing behaviors. This includes promoting positive attitudes towards desired behavior and reducing the perceived cost of compliance – that is, positive framing and making behaviors easier and easier to complete. Increasing the specificity of messages also improves engagement, especially if a sense of urgency is conveyed. Personalizing messages to target certain subgroups of the population and understanding the characteristics of these subgroups is beneficial and likely to improve the presentation of health information.”

This conclusion concludes the presentation of this interesting academic study*2.

Finally, I come back with the urge to always go “to the source” and go through the study in the original*3, both to have access to all references, but especially not to be influenced by possible omissions, personal comments or an unfaithful translation.

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*1 Gainsbury, S.M., Abarbanel, B.L.L., Philander, K.S. et al. Strategies to customize responsible gambling messages: a review and focus group study. BMC Public Health 18, 1381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6281-0
*2 This article is distributed in accordance with the terms of the international license Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
*3 Gainsbury, S.M., Abarbanel, B.L.L., Philander, K.S. et al. Strategies to customize responsible gambling messages: a review and focus group study. BMC Public Health 18, 1381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6281-0