The Structural Features of Sports and Race Betting Inducements: Issues for Harm Minimisation and Consumer Protection
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- Hing, N., Sproston, K., Brook, K. et al. J Gambl Stud (2016). doi:10.1007/s10899-016-9642-6
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Minimal research has been published about inducements for sports and race betting, despite their ready availability and aggressive advertising. This paper aimed to document the range and structural features of these inducements, and analyse their alignment with the harm minimisation and consumer protection goals of responsible gambling. A scan of all inducements offered on the websites of 30 major race and sports betting brands located 223 separate inducements which we categorised into 15 generic types, all offering financial incentives to purchase. These comprised sign-up offers, refer-a-friend offers, happy hours, mobile betting bonuses, multi-bet offers, refund/stake-back offers, matching stakes/deposits, winnings paid for ‘close calls’, bonus or better odds, bonus or better winnings, competitions, reduced commission, free bets to selected punters, cash rebates and other free bets. All inducements were subject to numerous terms and conditions which were complex, difficult to find, and obscured by legalistic language. Play-through conditions of bonus bets were particularly difficult to interpret and failed basic requirements for informed choice. Website advertisements for inducements were prominently promoted but few contained a responsible gambling message. The results were analysed to generate 12 research propositions considered worthy of empirical research to inform much needed regulatory reform in this area.