The effectiveness of warning messages on video lottery terminals



"Avant d'aller trop loin…" ("Before you go too far…") is a slogan that doesn't go far enough for video lottery terminal players.

The main objective of the Fondation Mise sur toi is prevention: since 2002, the organization has been placing preventive messages (such as "Avant de perdre le contrôle…" ("Before you lose control…"), "Avant de tout miser…" ("Before you bet everything…") on video lottery terminals. Yet these messages are not meeting their objectives: an experimental study shows that these warning messages fail to trigger the appropriate reaction in compulsive video lottery terminal users. However, when the warnings are better targeted and more direct, relating to the negative consequences for the gambler and those around him, a more preventive response is produced.

The warning messages fail to trigger the appropriate reaction in compulsive video lottery terminal users.

These warnings emphasize a clear threat with enough intensity to arouse fear, leading individuals to consider the negative consequences of video lottery terminal gambling, consequences directly related to their family and family life. These results are enhanced par an additional study into combining fear-arousing messages with strong images. Proven effective in anti-smoking campaigns, the use of strong images can also generate prevention behaviour in video lottery terminal players.

This research helps us to gain a better perspective on current methods for combating problem gambling, and video lottery terminal gambling in particular, and to improve our intervention methods using better-targeted, clearer and more threatening messages, based on well-known social psychology theory.

Main researcher

Jean-Charles Chebat, HEC Montréal

Summary

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: December 2010