Research is underway to assess how best to manage the online gaming space and gambling problem concerns. The latest study out of Australia sheds new light on the subject and suggests capped limits would help.
One of CQUniversity’s campuses in Australia. The university’s involvement in a gambling study presents the idea of mandatory online betting limits. (Image: Masters Portal)
The latest study tested a variety of safe gambling messages to determine what may work best to target problem gambling.
Over 3,000 bettors of various races and sports were involved. They were sent random messages over a four-week period, with 27 different messages delivered. The researchers measured the effects on their wagers, how long they spend betting, and overall gambling harms.
Researchers at Australia’s Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) conducted the study. It was led by the school’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory (EGRL) and funded by Gambling Research Australia (GRA).
Different Limit Types Work Better Than Others
Participants rated positive messages on controlling gambling money as the most helpful and simple to understand. The study determined that deposit restrictions were the most popular among the types of limits available. Overall spending limits, single-wager limits, and loss limits followed.
The least favorite type was a timer. Only 22% indicated that they would use a clock to limit the amount of time spent gambling online.
This research, according to the CQUniversity deduction, supports the notion that online gambling places participants at greater risk of gambling harm than traditional customers. The study found that almost one-third of participants used some type of limit. It also found that 45.6% of the participants deemed “problem gamblers” use one as well.
This, the researchers assert, means gamblers may have the ability to develop better gambling habits. Many bettors on racing and sports use smartphone apps to place wagers. This could make it easier to promote tips and other messages that help to avoid gambling harm.
Research Could Lead to New Online Gambling Controls
As seen in many countries, including the UK, Sweden and others, Australia is taking a close look at its gaming industry. This latest research could lead to the development of new rules and regulations across the country.
The GRA is backed by the Australian government, as well as regional state and territory governments. More than 50% of the funding for the program comes from the Commonwealth. This means it isn’t likely to ignore the results.
Currently, there is no mandatory requirement for the use of the limits. Australia introduced a law in 2019 that mandated the inclusion of deposit limit options by online operators. However, it remains the user’s choice.
Operators must also advise their users to take advantage of the limits available on their platforms. Like the limits themselves, though, these are only suggestions.
The CQUniversity researchers believe this should change. Forcing limits on the maximum amount of each bet placed would further the country’s responsible gambling initiatives. In addition, requiring the use of some type of betting limit option would go a long way as well.
Before any new regulations are drafted, one fundamental question has to be answered – are stricter controls necessary? Only 1% of the country’s population has a severe gambling problem, according to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Only 2% have a moderate gambling problem. It seems like the effort and resources put into reviewing potential gambling harms far outweighs the problem itself.
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