bet365: Placing gambling control at the forefront of consumers’ minds

Ahead of the 2020/21 football season in England and Wales, bet365, in partnership with our marketing agency, established an exercise to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our responsible gambling advertising in the UK. We wanted to understand the needs, wants and behaviours of gamblers including at-risk and problem gamblers; and to ensure that bet365 is communicating the most effective responsible gambling message, in the right way.

Key challenges were identified in ensuring the successful delivery of responsible gambling messaging. These included the use of terminology about which there is limited understanding of what it actually means, including:

  • The phrase ‘responsible gambling’ is open to interpretation and can lead to players abdicating responsibility due to lack of a consistent and clear message across operators;
  • Gamblers struggle to believe gambling companies when they talk about responsible gambling; and
  • Gamblers are familiar with industry advice, less so tools, and it is considered wallpaper, vague and uninteresting. It is tactical and rational rather than strategic and emotional.

Building on our understanding of the challenges faced, a campaign was developed concentrating on the emotional impact of at-risk gambling, away from the vagueness of the ‘responsibility’ space. The aim was to focus on emotional, relationship and human loss aversion, rather than financial loss aversion.

This campaign was realised in a new safer gambling TV advert used for the 2020/21 football season. The advert focussed on the emotional rather than the financial reflecting our initial research findings. We then tested the advertising to understand how it connects with the target audience and what messages were being generated. This included quantitative testing of c. 1000 male sports fans aged 18-40 across three campaign ‘phases’ – 1. Pre-campaign; 2. Mid-campaign; and 3. Post-campaign.

The results from our mid-season testing were broadly positive with half of the audience reporting having seen the campaign; and high levels of engagement with the advert compared with industry benchmark averages. Key take-aways from the advert included: Encouraging safer gambling; offering safer gambling tools; showing gambling as part of a balanced life; and that gambling should be fun, but not your whole life.

Our engaged audience connected at an emotional level and felt that the ad was: celebrating human connection and time with friends and family; about enjoying more important things in life than just gambling; and encouraging responsibility for ourselves and others and in controlling our gambling.

We are using the findings from this and the next phase of research to inform our responsible gambling adverts across all media going forward. Content will be refined and developed over time. The adverts will be used in multiple jurisdictions where suitable, but we will also amend adverts to reflect cultural differences in different countries. The findings will also be used to ensure that all our responsible gambling advertising, whether stand-alone; or a defined part of our commercial marketing, is as effective as it can be.

More information:

* This article appeared in EGBA’s recently published Sustainability Report 2020/21.

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