In-play betting linked with rising gambling problems

A collaborative study by Nottingham Trent University and Bilbao University has found that those who partake in in-play betting are more susceptible to exhibit addictive gambling behavioural tendencies, and also drink more alcohol.

A football match on tv with alcohol in the foreground

Study finds link between in-play betting, alcohol, and gambling addiction © Pexels.

In-play betting is becoming the leading sector within the sports gambling industry. Indeed, bet365 have previously said that that it makes up nearly 80 per cent of its revenues made on its sportsbook. This worrying new research now links this popular part of gambling directly with gambling addiction. Stating that in-play betting is part of a concoction of factors that leads to more people wanting to bet. Those that bet-live are also more likely to drink and watch sporting events together.

With another major link to gambling addiction being the consumption of alcohol, the report said that even the slightest amount can impair judgement and lead to increased betting, and whilst companies push the in-play features, this will lead to more impaired decision being made.

In-play features also impacted what can be termed as the ’emotional side’ to gambling. Those who were watching sports were inclined to back their team out of guilt. Fans bet on the outcome they wish to happen even if it is not likely to occur. Conversely, supporters have also gone the other way, and bet against their own team, to offset the emotional impact of losing. This can be especially true with many fans betting against their team during the match when things start to go wrong. This type of betting whilst watching sport is another feature of in-play betting that leads to addiction, the report found.

The study found that this type of betting triggers neural activation of those that are emotionally invested in the game to be less inhibitive. What’s more, the bookmaker’s ability to develop mobile apps means that gamblers have constant access to place a bet throughout an event. This immersive betting experience further contributes to users becoming addicted to gambling.

As a counter to this, betting companies through the Remote Gambling Association agreed to a self-imposed ban to stop advertising during games. This is good news to those who have a gambling problem. These people are the ones who are most at risk and tend to be more susceptible to advertisements as they are more impulsive. This type of advertisement has long been criticised so this self-imposed ban is a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen if more safety measures will be developed to help those at risk, both for current users and future ones.

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