A new research project from Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA) launches a 4-year project entitled ‘A Safe Bet: design and evaluation of a player-tailored online responsible gambling promotion framework’. The researchers will develop and evaluate new tools for online Responsible Gambling (RG).
The project is part of a larger, mutually initiated research collaboration between academia and the gambling industry. The scientists will develop and test high-quality, evidence-based RG tools in a live setting with active gamblers of two international gambling operators: Holland Casino Online (NL) and Playtech PLC (UK). The collaboration effort is based on the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources towards a comprehensive RG promotion framework, where a range of existing and newly designed RG tools will be dynamically tailored to gamblers’ individual level of gambling risk and gambling behaviour patterns.
"By collaborating with industry, we can use data we would otherwise not have access to."
Assistant professor in clinical psychology and eHealth (ESSB)
Research lead Marilisa Boffo (assistant professor in clinical psychology and eHealth at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences) has a background in digital interventions for behaviour change, most eminently in the field of addiction. She views the future of RG as a shared responsibility between all stakeholders: “Promoting and supporting safe gambling practices is something that can have a positive impact for all individuals who decide to gamble, and can contribute to the prevention of more problematic patterns of gambling behavior.
However, the scientific world cannot do it alone. By collaborating with industry, we can use data we would otherwise not have access to. Moreover, we can ensure scientific method and knowledge are embedded in the design, development, and evaluation of mandatory safety measures that gambling operators must use to protect gamblers. In this way, society benefits most from our findings.”
Scientific integrity and funding
The EUR and UvA have been in talks with the collaborating gambling operators for over a year. The legal departments of universities have put together an agreement to protect research freedom, scientific integrity, and privacy. Together they hope the project will contribute to and help advance the gambling research field. Moreover, the research will generate empirical evidence to improve RG practices within the gambling industry and inform responsible gambling policies.
The research team has applied for the International Centre for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) Centre of Excellence Grant in support of the project. Additional funding for the project is mutually co-financed by the industry collaborators. However, the collaboration agreement explicitly agrees that this does not mean they have any undue influence on scientific research decisions or will relate to any direct compensation from the research activities.
Why gambling operators collaborate with science
Malinda Miener, Chief Compliance Officer of Holland Casino: “Responsible gambling is essential for us: without it, we would not be able to operate. Through our joint efforts we can develop new responsible gambling tools which are based on data and science. This is important because it makes our policies and tools on prevention better. As an online gambling operator we are see it as our duty to prevent players from becoming problem players – we don’t want to earn money from them. With scientific data on our side, we can make sure we use the right intervention at the right time for the right player.”
Shimon Akad, COO at Playtech: “We are investing in data analytics and digital solutions to promote responsible gambling and deliver solutions to reduce gambling-related harm. While there are already tools to help customers gamble safely, we want to significantly improve the effectiveness and use of these tools amongst customers. We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to work collaboratively with academic experts who can identify and evaluate new approaches based on scientific theory. The goal of this research collaboration is to develop a range of effective tools and interventions that can be shared with all stakeholders and adopted by industry and regulators globally.”