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Where’s the Bonus in Bonus Bets? Assessing Sports Bettors’ Comprehension of their True Cost

  • Nerilee Hing
  • Matthew Browne
  • Alex M. T. Russell
  • Nancy Greer
  • Anna Thomas
  • Rebecca Jenkinson
  • Matthew Rockloff
Original Paper

Abstract

Wagering inducements with bonus bets are prominently marketed and often have play-through conditions requiring further expenditure. However, these conditions are not usually presented in the inducement advertisement and may be difficult to locate. The play-through conditions themselves are complex and may lead bettors to miscalculate the inducement’s true cost. Therefore, in relation to inducements with bonus bets, this study aimed to assess: (1) whether their perceived attractiveness varies with the amount and type of information provided about their play-through conditions; (2) bettors’ comprehension of their true cost; and (3) whether bettors’ comprehension of their true cost varies with problem gambling severity. A sample of 299 Australian sports bettors completed an online survey and rated the attractiveness of three variations of an inducement. Promo1 simply noted that “terms and conditions apply”; promo2 included the terms and conditions immediately below the offer; and promo3 revealed the true cost of the offer. Respondents were asked to calculate the true cost before this was revealed. The study found that detailing key terms and conditions for an offer directly below the advertisement impacts negatively on its perceived attractiveness. Moreover, nearly three in five bettors underestimated the additional amount they would need to bet to access any winnings from the bonus bet. No significant differences were found amongst gambler risk groups. The results imply that current approaches to marketing these inducements are likely to lead consumers to overestimate their attractiveness and underestimate their cost. To enhance responsible gambling practice, these promotional offers should be presented in ways that enable informed decision-making.

Keywords

Wagering Gambling Sports betting Inducements Promotions Advertising Marketing Informed choice Responsible gambling Consumer protection 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial support to conduct this study was received from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Nerilee Hing has received research grants from the Australian Research Council, Gambling Research Australia, the Queensland Government, NSW Government, South Australian Government, Victorian Government, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, and the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. She has conducted unpublished consultancy work for Echo Entertainment, Singapore Pools and Sportsbet aimed at improving their responsible gambling practices. She declares no conflict of interest in relation to this manuscript. Matthew Browne has received funding from Gambling Research Australia, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Queensland Government Department of Health, the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Japanese Federal Government. He has performed statistical consulting work for various government departments and agencies. Alex M. T. Russell has received research grants from Gambling Research Australia, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Queensland Government, the Alberta Gambling Research Institute, and the National Association of Gambling Studies, as well as various internal grants. He has conducted unpublished consultancy work for Echo/Star Entertainment, aimed at improving their responsible gambling practices in relation to gambling by their employees. He declares no conflict of interest in relation to this manuscript. Nancy Greer declares no conflict of interest in relation to this manuscript. Anna Thomas has received research grants from Gambling Research Australia, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation and the Victorian Government. She has been paid to conduct peer reviews for Gambling Research Australia and the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. She previously worked at the Australian Gambling Research Centre which is funded by the Australian Government. She declares no conflict of interest in relation to this manuscript. Rebecca Jenkinson has received research grants from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Victorian Government, the Australian Government Department of Health, the Australian Government Department of Social Services, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Drug Law Enforcement Fund, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, and the Invergowrie Foundation. Rebecca works at the Australian Gambling Research Centre which is funded by the Australian Government. She declares no conflict of interest in relation to this manuscript. Matthew Rockloff has received research grants from Gambling Research Australia, the Queensland Treasury Department, the Federal Department of Social Services, the Victorian Treasury Department, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance, the First Nations Foundation, the New Zealand Ministry of Health, and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. He declares no conflicts of interest in relation to this manuscript.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, School of Health, Medical and Applied SciencesCQUniversityBundabergAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Gambling Research CentreAustralian Institute for Family StudiesMelbourneAustralia

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