GambleAware’s Bet Regret Ad Deemed as Counterintuitive by Critics:

GambleAware’s public health advert which was recently published has already been criticised by critics, who say that it is potentially increasing the self-blame feelings among problem gamblers instead of encouraging them to address the addiction.

Bet Regret was first broadcasted on Sunday during the game between Manchester United and Liverpool as part of the national campaign encouraging safer gambling. It was deemed counterintuitive because it was sneaked between gambling ads from Sky Bet, Paddy Power, Betfair and Bet365, drowning the message out. The ad depicts a gambler being disappointed for his gambling behaviour, and experts say it is unlikely to encourage gamblers to speak about their problems or seek support. The message, they said, shifts the focus on self-discipline rather than the bad policies of gambling.

Critics’ Opinions:

Experts concerned with the association between suicidal thoughts and gambling addiction voiced their opinions saying gambling should not be promoted and GambleAware’s ad effectively deflected the focus away from the aggressive bets such as the odds 14/1 for Pogba to score next.

Rebecca Cassidy, which is a well-respected academic at the University of London and an expert on how public’s understanding of problem gambling was shaped by corporations said that she would like to see more emphasis on prevention for addiction. It seems counterintuitive to her to introduce the risks and harmful behaviours of gambling in combination with other gambling ads who promote gambling. She continued criticising the government, saying that if they believe that gambling harm is a public health issue, then why don’t they take a precautionary approach and start treating gambling like tobacco and ban sponsorship, promotion and advertising?

Dr Arman Hassaniakalager from the University of Bath agreed with this opinion, saying that gambling addicts are subject to aggressively promoted harmful products. Dr Philip Newall from the University of Warwick says that the Bet Regret ad is not persuasive enough, considering the top-notch psychological technics that the gambling industry uses in advertising.

And finally, the co-founder of Gambling with Lives charity, Liz Ritchie said that having in mind that gambling addiction is most often than not related to suicidal thoughts, messages like Bet Regret, should under no circumstance increase a self-blame or a sense of regret, so she, therefore, called for ban on online gambling advertising, all of it.

GambleAware’s Response:

The GambleAware’s defence is that Bet Regret intends to make bettors feel instant remorse right after placing impulsive bets, with the aim to encourage players to moderate their gambling, impulsive bets in particular.

The vice-chair and SNP MP of the all-party group on gambling-related harms Ronnie Cowan also defended Bet Regret saying it was intelligent, subtle and designed to make gamblers stop and think why they are gambling and whether they are doing it wisely. The hesitation moments may be all they need to help them break their habit of gambling when they are bored, drunk or are just chasing losses.