“Take Time to Think” – the safer gambling campaign and slogan for UK gambling has been found to have “no impact on the behaviour of gamblers”.
The assessment was made by researchers at the University of Warwick, who carried out tests of the campaign’s effectiveness within a live play environment.
Launched in October 2021 by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Take Time to Think replaced “When the Fun Stops Stop” as the nationwide campaign to promote and encourage responsible gambling behaviours to customers.
In addition, the campaign’s ‘Take Time to Think’ slogan has been featured across industry advertising promoting gambling products.
However, undertaking randomised online experiments, University of Warwick researchers found the message to be ineffective in a live environment.
Tests saw academics “create an online roulette game, and gave participants a real sum of £5, which they could choose to either withdraw and keep or continue with the experiment and gamble the money.”
1,500 participants were divided into three groups – with one segment playing roulette whilst the Take Time to Think slogan was featured continuously in the background. A second group needed to close a pop-up with the slogan to play the game, and a third group in which the slogan was completely absent.
The experiment measured participants’ responsiveness to the message and whether it would have any determined impact on their play, to reduce time or money spent gambling.
“The messaging had little to no effect on people’s gambling behaviour,” said Lukasz Walasek, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick and co-author of the study.
“The study did not reliably change the amount people bet, and it certainly didn’t have the intended effect of reducing the time spent gambling. Whether or not they received the message, people spent similar amounts of time placing each bet, made similar numbers of roulette spins, and played for a similar length of time overall.”
Feedback advised UK gambling to transmit a clear messaging approach on gambling harms/risks much like “warning labels on other recreational yet potentially harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco.”
The University of Warwick previously replicated its test to review the BGC’s ‘When the Fun Stops, Stop.’ campaign. Likewise, it found no credible impact on people’s betting behaviour and in some instances found that participants were more likely to bet all their available money.
Elliot Ludvig, Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick, warned: “If the industry is to be successful at preventing gambling harm, awareness messaging should be strongly worded, but independently developed, tested and validated in order to better inform and educate people about gambling and its risks.”
“There’s a clear formula on alcohol labels for example, that outlines how someone can moderate their alcohol intake. On tobacco labels, the warning is very stark.”