The Responsible Gambling Frenzy Takes New Forms
August 9th, 2019 3.00pm
The creators of the UK responsible gambling campaign are taking a lot of heat for their work on the 2015 “When the Fun Stops, Stop” project (WTFSS). The Senet Group, an independent organization behind the add is currently exposed to a great deal of public shaming, as some claim that the execution defeated the purpose and promoted all the wrong values.
WTFSS Label Increases Interest in Gambling, Study Shows
The effectiveness of the 2015 campaign was questioned several days ago, when the details of a study conducted by the University of Warwick emerged, labelling the entire concept as deliberately nonchalant about the issue.
The Senet Group was accused of diminishing the problem and diverting the consumers’ attention from the actual cause to the entertainment element of gambling. It was the word “fun” that triggered all the controversy, and the researchers pointed out that the font used was notably different, standing out in a way that undervalued the message.
The study covered over 500 participants who were exposed to numerous faux online gambling adds, some of which included the “When the Fun Stops, Stop” label. The participants (all with the background in online gambling) also received nine bonus funds worth £0.10, which they were free to use on betting. The results were somewhat alarming, showing that the subjects were more willing to use their bonuses when WTFSS label was involved. According to the researchers, the difference was not that significant, and the 3.5% increase was hardly a cause for concern (the participants in the study would use the bonuses 37.8% of the time, but the value would rise to 41.3% when the WTFSS would become visible).
It was, however, concluded that the label did nothing to achieve its primary purpose, which was to promote a more responsible attitude towards gambling.
When the FUN Stops, Stop – FUN Being the Operative Word
As mentioned, the main issue was the appearance of the word “fun” which, unlike the rest of the sentence was written in block letters and, therefore, more noticeable than the words “stop”, which should have been running the show.
Ollie Gilmore, Strategy Director at The Corner (creative agency in London) who was one of the people involved in the now-infamous WTFSS campaign, has voiced his opinion about the matter quite explicitly, referring to the study as “bollocks”.
Gilmore added that the study was flawed, pointing out that the main objective of the campaign was to warn the players that they are potentially “entering problem territory”. The goal was to stop the players from spending more than they could afford, which simply means that spending £0.10 bonus money could hardly qualify as irresponsible gambling behaviour.
Gilmore also underlined that the label used in the study was an older version which did not even contain the references to the GambleAware and underage gambling. He also mentioned industry surveys which showed that around 1/3 of regular gamblers stated that the campaign inspired them to consider their gambling habits. This, believes Gilmore, is the most significate indicator of Warwick study’s insufficiencies.
Safety Measures That Prevent Underage Gambling More Severe Than Ever
Lately, the UK Gambling Commission is quite adamant about implementing the security guidelines that prevent any violation of safe gambling principles. The online casino operators were the first to feel the UKGC wrath, but the fight is far from over.
Those who would like to engage in online gambling will need to undergo a series of verification checks, and you’ve probably noticed that it is next to impossible to gamble in any UKGC licenced casino before completing the KYC procedure.
The authentication procedure continues at the withdrawal page, and it is only after performing the requested identity verifications that the operator will release the funds. As time-consuming as this may be, we have to bear in mind that it is all for the good cause – even so, the players across the UK are becoming increasingly frustrated with the new set of rules, often referring to the country as “the nanny state”.
Remember to Gamble Responsibly!