Talking one-on-one with players is the most effective way of preventing gambling addiction

A recent PhD thesis at Stockholm University shows that speaking on a 1:1 basis with players over the telephone about their gambling consumption patterns is the best way to create awareness and to prevent gambling addiction and excessive gambling. Phone contact was highly appreciated by the players and the most effective method to balance overconsumption from “at-risk players” encouraging a sustainable relationship while at the same time increasing loyalty and retention.

The study was done on 3000 “high consumption” players at Norsk Tipping providing for a statistically strong sample. The research included in the PhD thesis aimed at investigating which method of feedback to players that made them most effectively reflect on their gambling habits as well as increase their motivation to break bad habits. The conclusion was that tailored 1:1 direct conversations over phone worked most effectively, by far.

After the initial 12 weeks, the theoretical loss was reduced by 29% in the group receiving personal phone calls, while the group receiving email had a 15% reduction and the control group receiving no communication a 3% reduction.

In the follow-up after 52 weeks, the phone conversation group was stable at a 30% reduction of theoretical loss, while email group dropped to 13% and the control group landed at 7%.

An interesting aspect of the study was that the personalized phone contact showed similar results as forcing players to set consumption limits. The study questions the ideas in the Reno model not to disturb recreational players with Responsible Gaming matters. On the contrary, the contact from the operator was highly appreciated by all players (4,4 out of 5 satisfaction rating). Also, the churn resulting from the personalised outreach was almost non-existent at 1% when measured over the 52-week interval.

The study emphasized that personal, human, feedback via a personalized phone call was the best way of predicting possible problems as well as self-exclusion due to the possibility of judging the “tonality” and general demeanour of the conversation which only can be perceived in a human conversation.

The study also touched on research whether Responsible Gaming information “pop-ups” had any effect. It had not, only on the level of 1% of behaviour change indicating that such machine-made information mechanisms do not work at all.

The study reinforces our experience and insights around Responsible Gaming. The most effective way to monitor for gambling addiction risks, as well as excessive gambling, is to talk to players one-on-one. Not only is it appreciated by the players, but it is also the most effective tool to balance the overconsumption from “at-risk players” encouraging a sustainable relationship while at the same time increase loyalty with those not at risk.

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