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Study Says ‘Play Breaks’ Help Gamblers Spend Less

A new study by the Journal of Gambling Studies may have the key to mitigating gambling harm and helping excessive gamblers find the means to counterweigh their excessive gaming behavior in the long term.

While the study did not target problem gamblers per se, it focused on those who tend to gamble the most and who are, by definition, most vulnerable to coming under gambling harm. The study was spearheaded by Mark Griffiths and Michael Auer. Griffiths was instrumental in helping Allwyn win the UK National Lottery bid and replace the outgoing Camelot.

Play Breaks Make Spending Fall after 10th Deposit

The study focused on introducing a 60-minute mandatory break in a gamer’s daily session and specifically took data from responsible gambling tools which analyzed such breaks. To ensure that the data is actionable, the journal took the data from Skillonnet, a gambling operator, which provide it anonymously and for the purposes of the study.

Skillonnet only forwarded data for online casinos in the UK applying to 2,0021 players. The surveyed period ran from July 23 through September 15, 2021. However, the survey took place in two phases – the first one analyzed those players’ consumer habits. Players were allowed to deposit without restrictions between July 23 and August 18, 2021, with researchers collecting the necessary data.

Once the “control period” was over, the study then shifted to mandatory “play breaks.” Essentially, people playing from August 20 through September 15, 2021, would have to take a one-hour cooling-off period after their tenth deposit.

The study found out that a significant number of players who had taken the 60-minute break were disinclined to continue betting after the play break. In fact, some 44% on average chose not to make a wager after their tenth deposit when the play break triggered.

Demographics in Control and Study Group Remain the Same

The study also looked into the demographics of the players who have been betting. People who deposited more than ten times during the control period were at least 38 years old and they were predominantly female, 56% of all depositors.

However, during the mandatory breaks period, 64% of the depositors were female. Interestingly, the age groups coincided for both groups. Using this data, the study suggested that play breaks are indeed helpful:

“This means that a mandatory play break in an online casino setting seems to prevent overspending during a short period of time.”

Journal of Gambling Studies

These results are helpful and they help shape gambling policies in the United Kingdom at a time when more data is needed to guarantee the sustainability of the business as well as ensure that consumers are not falling victim to excessive gambling practices. The debate about introducing more restrictive measures has been raging in the UK, to which some trade groups, including the Betting and Gaming Council said not to hurry into measures that may have unintended consequences.