Study finds Warning Labels to be Ineffective

We all know that responsible gambling is important, but do you read the warning labels seen on online casinos? A new study has declared that the warnings that are shown are just not doing their job, especially when it comes to roulette.

The study was carried out by researchers at the CQUniversity in Australia and England’s University of Warwick. They looked at 26 operators and concentrated on 363 online roulette games.

All those hours watching balls going around and around the roulette wheel didn’t please them. It’s not the lack of wins they were worried about but when it comes to warnings, they believe size does matter.

Many of the warning labels seen were on separate screens. Not just that, they lived up to the term small print. They were in the smallest font size and had the least prominent font boldness.

Do you know what RTP means?  Many do of course but there must be many who don’t. The study found that one out of five notices used acronyms such as RTP.

If players didn’t know that it meant ‘Return to Player,’ then the figure given wouldn’t have meant a great deal to them. If it was 91% then they might think that’s a pretty high figure, not knowing that many other games have much higher figures.

Some of the information seen at the online sites was rather long winded. The average number of words was 2,078 words and just who is going to read all of that?

Other information that related to average winnings was also not clearly explained. The UK Gambling Commission are obviously concerned about areas such as this. They have provided an optimal format that is basic but does the job. One example says, “this game keeps 10% of all money bet on average.”

However, the study says that 98.3% of the games they observed didn’t contain this format. Operators prefer to use ‘this game as an average percentage pay-out of 90%.’ Apparently, half of gamblers don’t actually understand what that statement means.

It’s not a problem that has just suddenly appeared.  Another study found that only 45.56% of UK gamblers understand return to player information from four alternative descriptions given.

With new players joining online casinos during the pandemic, it’s important for them to read all the terms and conditions. Having the information on the same screen as the game is also important. This study found that not to be the case.

The dissatisfaction at the easy availability of information has been expressed by Dr Lukasz Walasek. He works in the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick. His view is that “It is hard to imagine this information could be less ‘easily available’ than we observed.”

Dr Philip Newall of CQUniversity added that “stronger regulations on the prominent provision of understandable risk information” is needed. With the UK government soon to review online gambling, this is bound to be discussed.