Behavioural tracking and the effects of responsible gaming tools and personalized feedback in online gambling

Auer, M., 2015. Behavioural tracking and the effects of responsible gaming tools and personalized feedback in online gambling. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Interactive technology has helped online gambling to become a more popular leisure time activity over the last decade. Alongside this development, new forms of Responsible Gaming tools such as voluntary limit setting and personalized feedback have been introduced. These interventions require a gambling environment with identified play such as online gambling and card-based land-based gambling. This thesis investigates the effects of personalized Responsible Gaming tools on subsequent gambling behaviour and also introduces a novel measure of monetary gambling involvement (i.e., 'theoretical loss'). Following reviews of the relevant literature and methodologies used, Studies 1 and 2 in Chapters 4 and 5 introduce the concept of theoretical loss, a monetary measure of gambling intensity. Study 1 utilised a simulation experiment and concluded that the theoretical loss is advantageous over bet-size with regard to measuring monetary involvement. Study 2 validated the results of Study 1 based on real-world gambling data from a large sample of 100,000 online players. Study 3 is also based on a sample of players from a real-world gambling environment and concluded that the setting of voluntary time and money limits lead to positive changes in gambling behaviour. It was also shown that the effect of time and money limits depended upon the types of games played. For instance, slot players benefited from money limits whereas poker players spent less money playing if they set time limits. Studies 4 and 5 investigated the effects of a pop-up message that appeared after 1,000 consecutive slot games. Both studies showed that only a minority of playing sessions lasted longer than 1,000 consecutive games. Study 4 compared the number of sessions that lasted 1,000 games before the pop-up was introduced with the number of sessions that lasted 1,000 games after the pop-up was introduced. Results demonstrated that the pop-up prompted a small minority of players to cease their playing session. Study 5 investigated a modified pop-up message that was formulated in a motivational way and contained normative information. Almost twice as many players ceased to play as a consequence of the enhanced pop-up message compared to the previous simple pop-up message. This led to the conclusion that the way a message is formulated is a crucial aspect of behavioural change. The hypothesis that self-appraisal messages and normative feedback have an effect on behavioural change was supported. In Study 6, players of an online gambling website who had voluntarily signed up to a behavioural feedback system (i.e., mentor) where subject to analysis. These players received elaborate visual and numerical information concerning the past six months of their gambling behaviour. The player front-end – which displayed various types of information (losses, types of games played, playing duration, etc.) – was in line with Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) principles. Results indicated that the personalized feedback system achieved the anticipated effect and that the time and money spent gambling was significantly reduced compared to that of the control group. The main results were also validated by additional analysis showing that the individual players reacted similarly with respect to time and money spent when provided with personalized feedback. The studies in this thesis demonstrate for the first time that voluntary limit setting, interactive pop-up messages, and personalized feedback can affect player behaviour positively in a real-world environment. The studies also demonstrate differences among subpopulations of players. It is almost impossible to uncover such insights in laboratory settings or with self-recollected information because a longer history of playing behaviour is necessary in order to extract player profiles. However, this thesis did not consider cognitive information as it was purely based on behavioural tracking data. Also, the data mostly came from one operator and players were not randomly assigned to experimental conditions. Consequently, future research should try to overcome these limitations and combine cognitive and behavioural data.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Auer, M.
Date: 2015
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Nov 2016 15:04
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2016 15:04
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/29002

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