House-edge information and a volatility warning lead to reduced gambling expenditure: Potential improvements to return-to-player percentages

Article


Newall, Philip W.S., Byrne, Christopher A., Russell, Alex M.T. and Rockloff, Matthew J.. 2022. "House-edge information and a volatility warning lead to reduced gambling expenditure: Potential improvements to return-to-player percentages." Addictive Behaviors. 130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107308
Article Title

House-edge information and a volatility warning lead to reduced gambling expenditure: Potential improvements to return-to-player percentages

ERA Journal ID6060
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsNewall, Philip W.S., Byrne, Christopher A., Russell, Alex M.T. and Rockloff, Matthew J.
Journal TitleAddictive Behaviors
Journal Citation130
Article Number107308
Number of Pages6
Year2022
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0306-4603
1873-6327
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2022.107308
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306460322000740
Abstract

Cost-of-play information is one public health intervention recommended to help reduce gambling-related harm. In the UK, this information is given on electronic gambling machines in a format known as the “return-to-player”, e.g., “This game has an average percentage payout of 90%.” However, previous evidence suggests that this information could be improved by equivalently restating it in terms of the “house-edge”, e.g., “This game keeps 10% of all money bet on average.” A “volatility warning,” stating that this information applies only in the statistical long-run, has also been recommended to help gamblers understand cost-of-play information. However, there is no evidence comparing these information provisions’ effect on gamblers’ behavior. An experiment tested US gamblers’(N = 2433) incentivized behavior in an online slot machine, where this information was manipulated between-participants along with a counter showing the total amount bet. Preregistered analyses showed that participants gambled significantly less when house-edge information or a volatility warning were shown compared to standard return-to-player information, with no effect of the total amount bet counter, and no significant interaction effects. However, these significant findings had small effect sizes, suggesting that a public health approach to gambling should not rely on informational provisions only. Subject to supportive evidence from more ecologically-valid designs such as field studies, these results suggest that improved cost-of-play information could lead to reduced rates of gambling expenditure and therefore benefit a public health approach to gambling.

KeywordsPublic health ; Electronic gambling machines ; Nudge; Gambling messaging
ANZSRC Field of Research 20205205. Social and personality psychology
Public Notes

The accessible file is the accepted version of the paper. Please refer to the URL for the published version.

Byline AffiliationsCentral Queensland University
University of Bristol, United Kingdom
School of Psychology and Wellbeing
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