Researchers from Warwick University have come to question the effectiveness of When the fun stops, stop the phrase when it comes to helping curb problem gambling. According to the researchers, the way the campaign is ongoing in its current form is in no way as effective as the industry is saying it is and is not having any kind of significant effect on the people with or without problem gambling. Despite the qualms that the researchers are having, the responsible betting promotional organization, Senet Group, is disagreeing with the conclusions that the researchers are drawing. The gambling industry-funded organization thinks that the campaign is effective enough to warrant a continuation, while the researchers believe that it might need to have alterations to the way it looks right now.
The researchers conducted an experiment which is what brought the effectiveness of the campaign into question. The experiment monitored the decision-making process of 506 subjects of diverse backgrounds. These people were allowed to gamble online, but only after they had the phrase When the fun stops, stop displayed to them. The experiment showed that there was no significant correlation between the decision to stop playing and whether the subjects were shown the phrase. This has caused the researchers to believe that there might not be any specific benefit to the campaign that the phrase is running under. The baseline group showed that they would continue gambling as much as the group that was shown the message, which is a bad sign for the campaign altogether.
The lack of statistical significance of the number of bets placed between those who were shown the message and those were not shown the message was not taken well by the Senet Group. The phrase was introduced in 2015, by the organization, as a way to help people with problem gambling issues to control their decision making. The suggestions of the experiment might result in the gambling commission discontinuing the campaign in its present form. Considering this to be an issue, the Senet Group has already started considering changing the message within the campaign. The chair of the Group, Gillian Wilmot, has announced that the group is looking at potential changes already. Changing messaging, or the shape of the messaging is the priority the group will be taking. One of the changes they are thinking of making is the shrinking of the word fun within the phrase. It has been reported in the casino industry news that the changes are still being considered.
According to the Chair, the campaign has managed to produce a significant contribution for the group and for the gambling community. She said that the campaign created awareness of the relationship that negative emotional states have on the continuation of gambling, specifically when speaking about problem gambling and gambling addiction. She believes the phrase turned out to be an effective quick go-to for young men to say to each other, in order to help each other curb issues with gambling and challenge each other’s behaviour when doing so is needed. She continued to discuss how the goal of the campaign was not to discourage gambling in general, but instead to help people stop problem gambling. According to her, this was achieved by allowing the players to take a second and reflect on their own state of mind, analyze the situation and see whether they were actually having fun, or if the game was simply being kept up for the wrong reasons. She believes the campaign worked as much as the Bet Regret campaign did in the past.