European Commission publishes the Final Report “Study on online gambling and adequate measures for the protection of consumers of gambling services”

Andrew Ivchenko

The Final Report “Study on online gambling and adequate measures for the protection of consumers of gambling services” delivered to the European Commission’s Directorate General MARKT (DG MARKT) by LSE steered Research Consortium and Expilab Research was published on 14 July 2014.

The Final Report “Study on online gambling and adequate measures for the protection of consumers of gambling services” conducted for the European Commission’s Directorate General MARKT (DG MARKT) was finally published on 14 July 2014. In this project Expilab Research team was involved in the design, programming and conduction of the behavioural experiments.

This research report evaluates existing consumer protection measures as well as new protection measures designed around decision-making nudges in the context of consumption of online gambling services. For this purpose, set of laboratory and field study experiments were conducted collecting behavioural and self-reported data from more than 500 lab and 5500+ online participants from Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. Report itself is available for download from the EC portal (link here). Additional details including project’s case-study and demo experiment are available on our website through the following links:

While undoubtedly the intended audience of the report are EU policy makers EU involved into regulation of Online and Offline gambling markets, this report may benefit a wider audience including public policy-makers, corporate behavioural insights teams, consumer policy experts and affiliated bodies interested in behavioural (evidence-based) policy research. To the certain extend this report may be interesting for academic community as this report field-tests the effects of decision-making nudges through the set of complex behavioural experiments in highly realistic and risky decision environment.

First, here is some basic information about Online Gambling sector. With 63% of EU population having Internet connection, about 6.8 million of Europeans are engaged in different forms of Online Gambling activities generating 10-14 billion EURO worth of market turnover. It includes all the possible types gambling gambling services and distribution channels including betting (e.g. horse and dog racing, event betting and pool competitions), poker and casino services, bingo services, lotteries of all sorts. It even includes sales promotions with promotional prizes linked to product/service purchase.

6.8 million people are engaged in Online Gambling

10-12 billion EURO of market turnover

Important feature of the Online Gambling market is its cross-border nature. In essence, nationals of any EU country may be able to access (with certain amount of effort, but still rather easily) any online gambling website located in some remote country or even continent. Therefore, appropriate consumer protection measures needs to be placed to ensure consumer’s safety, prevent problem gambling, fight crime and fraud. While some EU-member states (e.g. Sweden) chose to approach this problem by allowing only limited number of gambling operators, majority of other EU countries are using less restrictive, but still wide range of measures varying in scope of action and requirements from gambling operators. In absence of EU wide and sector wide measures, EU member states are reviewing national legislation and seeking further ways to restrict or limit cross-border supply of online gambling services.

Svenska Spel – One of the few legal gambling operators in Sweden

Therefore, the main objective of the project was to conduct an independent laboratory and field testing of the consumer protection measures such as warning messages, local gambling addiction helplines, logos of national gambling authorities among others used in the Online Gambling sector across different EU member-states. Unlike majority of other studies, the project’s findings are based on the data collected about actions and behaviour of participants of a hypothetical online casino developed by Expilab Research (take a look at demo of the experiment). The findings of this project are expected to contribute to design and development of EU wide consumer protection legislation and allow the European Commission to undertake actions, together with the EU member states, aimed for protection of all European citizens and consumers, including minors and vulnerable groups.

While I keep the most of the findings to the report itself, I will just mention one key point. And this point is that most of the consumer protection measures such as logos of national gambling authorities, helplines, warning messages displayed before engaging into gambling activity seem to work. With the exception of few, most of consumer protection measures simply have no statistically significant effects (meaning that there is not enough evidence to say these measures do work) neither on gambling behaviour nor on cognitive and emotional responses.

Again, you can download the report on the page with project’s case-study here or get in touch with us to find out more about this project (contact us now)

Expilab is the best positioned to do programming of your next experiment similar to the one as in the project above. You can read more about how we help you with programming, designing and conducting your experiments whether you are from Academia or Business Organization. Don’t wait, get in touch with us now!

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