Recent research has highlighted that Take Time to Think, a safer gambling initiative by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), might not be very effective. The results show that the campaign and its slogan barely affect players’ behavior, if at all.
The inefficiency of the Take Time to Think system was demonstrated by experts at the University of Warwick. The researchers tested the campaign’s effectiveness in a live betting environment but couldn’t observe an impact on how players wager.
The experts created an online roulette game and supplied all participants with £5 to play. This was, in fact, real money that players could withdraw instead of gambling away. Then, the researchers split the 1,500 participants into three groups.
The first group saw the Take Time to Think campaign prominently promoted in the background. Although the campaign was featured throughout their playtime, it didn’t disrupt their gameplay. On the contrary, the second group was interrupted mid-game by a pop-up that promotes Take Time to Think. Unlike the first group, the second group was forced to manually close the pop-up window. Lastly, the third group could play without seeing the slogan at all.
As it turns out, the experts were unable to notice any significant difference in the ways the people from the three groups played.
Stronger Wording Is Needed, Experts Say
According to Lukasz Walasek, associate professor of psychology at the University of Warwick and co-author of the research, neither the background message nor the pop-up window had any noticeable impact. Unfortunately, Walasek said, the slogan failed to change players’ bet sizes, betting frequency or playtime.
According to the authors of the study, a better responsible gambling campaign would be one that clearly highlights the dangers of gambling. This may include warning labels such as the ones found on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
Elliot Ludvig, professor of psychology at the University of Warwick, noted that strong wording would be needed if such initiatives are to have an impact on player behavior. Ludvig argues that such programs’ efficiency should be tested before they are launched to the general public.
BGC’s Previous Campaign Was Suboptimal as Well
Take Time to Think was launched in 2021. It effectively replaced the previous program which was called When the Fun Stops Stop. Both programs have been extensively featured across industry marketing materials.
Unfortunately, When the Fun Stops Stop also failed to have a significant impact on British players’ behavior. Before the campaign was replaced by Take Time to Think, the University of Warwick ran a similar probe, resulting in similar results.