Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Bet (@YorkshireFlint). At one point, Richard asked me if there were Responsible Gambling Campaigns that I liked and I couldn’t think of one. I’m sure it exists and maybe I have just forgotten, but I struggle to stand behind the current template used for most Responsible Gambling campaigns.
But what didn’t I like? I realized I needed to articulate my thoughts in order to help move Responsible Gambling campaigns forward. Here’s my first contribution…
Current Campaign Content
The content and suggestions of Responsible Gambling campaigns provide excellent tips and strategies to keep gambling recreational. If the person consuming the message follows the plan provided, I am confident they will be able to engage in gambling in a way that adds entertainment and fun in their lives.
So why do I think these ads are poorly executed and potentially damaging?
Quite simply, I believe they are incomplete due to their lack of a disclaimer.
While the campaigns provide the road map for responsible gambling, they don’t go a step further and educate the audience about additional issues that may make it difficult to follow the plan. Just a few examples might be:
- Life events – loss of job, death of a close friend or family member, failing health, abuse or trauma
- Personality traits – competitiveness, extreme belief in self, addictive personality
- Big Wins or Losses
So why is a disclaimer so important?
Knowing the events or traits that might trigger an individual to begin gambling in a way that doesn’t follow Responsible Gambling guidelines further educates the consumer and allows them to identify the things that might push them to gamble in a way that causes harm.
Additionally, knowing these traits allows the individual to acknowledge that their dangerous gambling might be caused by an external force or inherited trait. I believe this is crucially important as it allows the person to see the root of the gambling harm, rather than simply believing the long-standing myth that problem gambling is a moral shortcoming or weakness that they need to “figure out” so they can quit gambling in a dangerous manner.
In summary, I believe including additional disclaimers and warnings in Responsible Gambling campaigns will increase their effectiveness by properly identifying underlying issues of problem gambling and reducing the social stigma felt by the individual who has lost control.