A study commissioned by GambleAware has found that allowing players greater flexibility when depositing on betting sites could reduce the amount they spend.

Carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), an independent science consulting group, the study featured a number of experiments to see how much players would spend based on options and messaging.

1,731 customers on the bet365 website were involved in the research. The players had not previously applied deposit limits to their accounts.

What were the results of the study?

604 of the 1,731 bet365 players reached the operator’s standard page. On there, they were given a dropdown menu with the option to set gambling deposit limits. They could either choose between £5 and £100,000 or to carry on without setting their own limits.

571 other customers were directed to a page where they could limit their deposits up to £250. Again, they were also given the choice to continue playing without setting any deposit limits.

The final 556 players could enter whichever amount they wished to in a text box.

Interestingly, customers who were shown the original option actually spent more than the other two groups. Their average daily spend was £14.30.

The group of customers given the option to limit their deposits up to £250 spent £8.30 on average. And perhaps surprisingly, those given no pre-mentioned deposit limits spent the least. Players who could choose how much they wanted to limit freely spent £7.10 on average.

For players who were shown the original option, they also set higher deposit limits. The average for these individuals was £1,601.10. Comparatively, the group of players who could limit their deposits up to £250 set an average limit of £230.81.

What did BIT recommend after carrying out its research?

BIT recommended that the free text box format, which resulted in the lowest total average spend, became a requirement on the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)’s Code of Practice.

The report authors said:

“In place of LCCP provisions, we alternatively recommend that the Gambling Commission regularly updates the public regarding which operators have yet to remove high anchors from their tools.

“This approach would not only address recent calls on the Commission to utilise reputational incentives, but also give the industry scope to demonstrate proactive progress in lieu of active regulation.

“Much more work is needed to test robustly and independently the impacts of various facets of online gambling using randomised controlled trials in live business environments. Only then will robust, independent evidence exist to inform policies, practices, and procedures.”