SBC News GambleAware calls for change in safer gambling messaging

GambleAware calls for change in safer gambling messaging

GambleAware has called for a change in gambling health warnings in ads based on evidence that they have reduced effectiveness in their current form. 

A new survey of more than 7,000 people commissioned by the gambling harm treatment body has highlighted that the ‘Take Time To Think’ (TTTT) slogan, which is in wide use by the industry, “fails to land the jeopardy of gambling harms or to signpost where people can get help”. 

Alexia Clifford, Chief Communications Officer for GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms are a serious public health issue, and it is vital that people are aware of the risks associated. Today’s landmark study underscores the need to replace the industry-led slogan ‘Take Time To Think’ with more compelling health warnings.

“We’re also concerned about operators’ misuse of the GambleAware logo and the lack of clear signposting to support channels. We urge industry to take heed of the growing body of evidence highlighting the need for better safeguards and restrictions.”  

Instead, the study proposes three new marketing messages which according to the survey’s feedback carry a bigger impact and are more memorable among those who gamble. 

Results have shown that the strapline ‘Gambling can be addictive’ resonates with 46% of players compared to the 35% that see TTTT as the better message. Another alternative put forward is ‘Gambling comes at a cost’, which was seen by 22% of surveyed as carrying more weight in comparison to the 12% for TTTT. The third warning – which states ‘Gambling can grip anyone’ – also performed well across metrics. 

Dr Raffaello Rossi, a lecturer in marketing at Bristol University and co-author of the research, commented: “In the absence of strict gambling marketing restrictions, it is absolutely vital that we see warnings on gambling advertising that highlight the addictive nature of gambling, paired with clear, unambiguous signposting for people to access support if needed. We need to see better regulation of gambling operators who are widely bombarding us with their ads.”

The report’s findings resonate with the recent government recommendations to implement a clearer industry-wide public health messaging that better promotes harm reduction, as well as other previous GambleAware studies that showed the impact that gambling ads can have on children and young people.  

Sam Starsmore, who has lived experience of gambling harm, said: “I’ve experienced first-hand the profound impact of gambling harm on every aspect of life – mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. Sadly, there are potentially millions more people out there at risk of harm, and if they or a loved one are concerned about their gambling, they need to know where they can get help.

“Gambling operators spend millions on advertising, but there isn’t nearly enough regulation, and signposting to support services has to be improved. Reflecting on my personal experiences, the safer gambling messages never had an impact in providing me with a platform or direction to seek the support I crucially needed. Change is needed and could help prevent so many people from more serious consequences further down the line.”

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