In this report, BIT’s Gambling Policy & Research Unit presents the findings from a study looking at the impact of slot game advert features on understanding, attitudes and gambling behaviour. We tested these features in adverts like those shown below, via an online randomised controlled trial (RCT) with 5,979 people in the UK.
The ‘business as usual’ advert (the experiment’s control arm) tested the most common features recorded in our content analysis, such as a free spins incentive.
The ‘low risk to potential reward’ advert, which repeats “NO WAGERING” and emphasises the potential to win, with piles of coins and stating “keep everything you win”.
We found that on average, varying slot game advert features did not change people’s understanding of the advertised game, or their gambling behaviour, compared to those who saw the ‘business as usual’ advert (shown above, left). There were a couple of exceptions, however:
- Those who saw the ‘low risk to reward’ advert (shown above, right) had marginally lower understanding of the free spin’s T&Cs. This may be due to the salience of “no wagering” relative to the T&Cs that apply, reducing engagement.
- Among those at high risk of gambling harm (short-form PGSI 4+), the advert features significantly changed the total amount staked. This suggests that advert features may have differential impacts for different groups. We propose further investigation of which specific features are likely to be the most harmful.