Research on targeted gambling ads
Australian sports fans are being targeted with gambling advertising on their smartphones as operators embrace new ways of reaching bettors.
In a written report on ABC News, Dr Alex Russell explained how research has determined how effective this form of advertising is and its potential impact on gamblers. Dr Russell is a senior postdoctoral fellow in the Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory at Central Queensland University.
Researchers asked 98 sports bettors and 104 race gamblers to complete surveys each day for a week. It was found that, on average, each sports bettor received 3.7 emails and 2.3 texts during the week. However, race bettors were targeted with 6.5 emails and 4.3 texts in the same period.
Many of the messages received were regular promotions, while others adopted a more personalized approach, stating:
FOR YOU: Deposit up to $200 and we’ll match it.”
Text messages more effective than emails
Although the research participants received more gambling advertising emails than texts, the researchers thought the use of text messaging was more effective. As a result, they believe gambling operators will increase this form of advertising.
Russell claims this is down to the fact that texts are more likely to be acted upon compared to emails. He highlights that only 22% of emails are opened. However, 2013 data suggests that text messages are read 98% of the time, with a 90-second response time on average.
He added, “Many of us check our smartphones regularly and can immediately place a bet via various sports betting apps.”
Tailored gambling ads
Tailoring an email or a text message is also something that gambling operators are embracing, according to the findings.
A gambling venue may use an approach known as behavioral insights or behavioral tracking, which is based on past information regarding how and when a person placed a bet. By sending reminders to a gambler, an operator may be able to coax them into betting once again.
Last March, it was reported that gambling ads would no longer appear on live sporting events on Australian TV. The aim was to reduce children’s exposure to the industry.
Yet, while it was noted that the ban only applied five minutes before the start of play and five minutes after the whistle, it was still considered a step in the right direction.
When it comes to private advertising through emails and texts, the same rules don’t apply. However, with five to 12% of Australians estimated to experience one or more gambling-related problems each year, the research calls for risks to be considered.
But, as the report states, while gambling restrictions are brought in, operators find ways to circumvent them, creating a “cat-and-mouse game.”
According to Russell, restrictions are mostly placed on TV gambling ads. He also maintains that private messaging controls need to step up. If not, he notes, private messaging could increase the potential for gambling-related harm.