Controversial Study On The Impact Of The WTFSS Campaign

Viktor Vangelov | Published 11 Aug 2019, 9:46 p.m.

If there is one thing that there has been an abundance of in the last several years – then it is reports and studies of all sorts. Governments and governmental organisations have been collecting gambling data for many years now, but it appears that nowadays the range and scope of studies and reports has been broadened.

The UK Gambling Commission regularly collects data and publishes its statistics and findings. Then the data is used both by the Commission as well as other UK institutions to plan policies act with the aim of preventing gambling harm and helping people who have a gambling problem.

But it’s not just studies and research that the UKGC conducts. Quite a few operators were forced to pay rather hefty fines for failing to comply to industry standards. Last year, UK based operators were required to pay fines in a total amount of £19.6 million.

WTFSS Was Launched By Senet Group

This time we’d like to bring another study to your attention. Namely, the University of Warwick conducted a study on the impact of the When the Fun Stops, Stop campaign. Well, it is fair to say that WTFSS is more of a requirement than a campaign in the standard sense of the word, but still.

For those that don’t remember the When the Fun Stops, Stop campaign was launched in 2015 and it was introduced by the Senet Group, an independent body that includes some of the leading operators in the country and is dedicated to the promotion of responsible gambling standards.

506 Individuals Participated In The Study

This particular study included 506 participants who were shown false gambling ads where some of them includes the standard WTFSS label, whereas the other ads didn’t include a label whatsoever. Then participants were awarded bonuses, a total of nine instalments worth 10p each and they were allowed to use the amount to place a football wager.

The findings were rather interesting. Namely, it turned out that people who watched adds not featuring the WTFSS label were less likely to make wagers. In 37.8% of the cases when the label was not shown people gambled, as opposed to 41.3% when the label was shown. It is fair to say that the difference in percentage is far from significant and we can’t draw a conclusion that the label encourages people to gamble, but some are keen to draw the conclusion that it’s not as effective as expected.

Some have pointed out that the word ‘Fun’ occupies a lot more space on the banner, and this might be the reason behind the somewhat unexpected results.

Ollie Gilmore Points The Flaws Of The Study

One of the people who worked on the creative of the campaign – Ollie Gilmore said that the study actually misses the point. He said that the point of the When the Fun Stops, Stop campaign isn’t to stop people from placing wagers in general, but that the campaign was aimed at tackling problem gambling.

There is no scenario in which placing 10p bonus funds on a wager is problem gambling, therefore the study isn’t even applicable to the campaign and it fails to prove anything.

Furthermore, he also added that the word ‘Fun’ is very large on the older version of the banner, whereas the current version features a much smaller proportion. The current version of the campaign banner also includes references to GambleAware and an ‘18+’ tag which also weren’t shown on the version used in the study.