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Transparency in Responsible Gambling: A Systematic Review. EROGamb 2 Systematic Review.

Wang, R., Bush-Evans, R., Arden-Close, E., Thomas, S., Hodge, S., McAlaney, J., Bolat, E. and Phalp, K. T., 2021. Transparency in Responsible Gambling: A Systematic Review. EROGamb 2 Systematic Review. Technical Report. Poole, England: Bournemouth University.

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Persuasive, immersive and attention-grabbing elements of technology and personalised marketing content are widely embedded in interactive online marketing to engage and persuade usersto engage in more online interaction and transactions. This has the potential to pose a risk of excessive and obsessive use of technology, leading to behavioural addiction. Similarly, Internet gambling enables 24/7 accessibility, personalised and persuasive elements for marketing purposes, the capability of immersive and rewarding betting experience, enhanced privacy to facilitate perceived escape from the real world, and ease of transactions, which may potentially create an environment where individuals are more likely to chase losses and lose control. Evidence suggests Internet gambling is associated with higher risk of problematic gambling and gambling-related harm compared to landbased gambling (Effertz et al., 2018; Kairouz et al., 2012; Papineau et al., 2018; Wu et al., 2014). Gambling operators and governments have developed and implemented programs and policies (e.g., age restriction policy, deposit limit tools, self-exclusion programs) designed to promote Responsible Gambling (RG) and minimise gambling-related harm. Responsible and safer gambling is naturally associated with transparency. Transparency, as defined in this review, involves providing a customer with explicit information about chance of winning as well as other types of information that is shared by gambling operators. At the heart of RG efforts is informed decision making. The principle is to help individuals make informed choice by providing them with transparency in games and promotion materials. However, there is a distinct lack of consensus on what transparency should involve in RG practices, and no prior research has aimed at reviewing transparency in RG practices systematically. Informed by our narrative review of transparency in persuasive technology, immersive technology and online marketing (Wang et al., 2021) all of which are closely associated with the online gambling world, we advocate that RG-driven transparency involves multiple aspects such as user autonomy, system explainability and transparency in advertising. We consider transparency and explainability (or accountability) as an indivisible whole that promotes RG by facilitating communication and understanding of information for individuals to make informed choices. In the present research, we conducted a systematic review of literature in the RG domain using narrative synthesis to examine evidence relating to transparency in current RG practices in the gambling industry. This review did not intend to examine the effectiveness of specific RG tools or strategies or provide prescriptive legislative and corporate guidelines; instead, we focused on the fundamental aspects of transparency that should be considered and practised by industry for the benefit of individuals who gamble. In this review, we found that transparency issues have rarely been explored. Using sources from database searching, handsearching and grey literature, we included all types of articles (i.e., qualitative studies, quantitative studies, literature review, and position articles) in this review. Most empirical studies were focused on effectiveness of a specific RG tool or intervention; most review or position articles did not directly explore transparency issues or only involved specific aspects of transparency; and no systematic or non-systematic reviews of transparency in RG practices were found. Through this review, we conceptualised RG-driven transparency by categorising it into seven themes involved in or implied by the existing literature for a better understanding of what constitutes RGdriven transparency in games and promotion materials. These themes are Transparency of Information and Education for Safer Gambling (including fairness of games and gamblers’ fallacy, potential risks and negative consequences, safer gambling cognition and behaviour, boundary between gaming and gambling), Transparency of RG Tools (including availability and accessibility of RG tools, effectiveness of RG tools, personalisation of RG strategies), Transparency of Data-driven Approaches and Persuasive Technologies (including purposes and benefits of using personal data, data usage and privacy protection, individual autonomy, algorithmic transparency, trade-off determination), Transparency in Advertising, Transparency of Corporate Social Responsibility and Individual Responsibility (including division of responsibility, gambling policy and staff training, CSR reporting and assessment), Transparency of Research Evidence and Funding Sources, and Design Considerations for Improving Transparency. We provided stakeholders (including gambling operators, regulators, researchers and individuals who gamble) with a checklist of recommendations for best practices in RG-driven transparency according to this review. In practice, all stakeholders should collaborate to facilitate individuals to make informed choices and achieve the objectives of responsible and safer gambling, as improving transparency requires effort from multiple parties. For example, using online gambling behaviour data for the purpose of promoting safer gambling and minimising gambling-related harm is highly promising. In order to provide interpretable information about models and algorithms used for individuals who will be affected or benefit from them, the gambling industry needs transparency and explainability of these models and algorithms from professionals and researchers in the first place. Professionals from multidisciplinary backgrounds such as Psychology, Computer science and HCI should collaborate to design the online RG information, RG tools and interventions in a way that can facilitate long-term sustainable positive behaviour change. Persuasive technologies to benefit users’ positive, heathy behaviour change are usually designed and implemented in a short time period, however, both iterative design methods and longitudinal studies are necessary to ensure such technologies with the intervention strategies are supported by psychological theories and empirical studies to have actual benefits with minimised risks such as privacy issues and behavioural addiction. Future research is required to empirically validate the checklist of recommendations for improving RG-driven transparency and to address the trade-off issues related to transparency (e.g., how to balance transparency with user experience requirements or the good intent of persuasive technologies and RG interventions). Furthermore, more practicalities and detailed guidelines for gambling operators on how to embed RG-driven transparency into games and promotion materials are required with efforts from multiple stakeholders in future.

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:36739
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:16 Mar 2022 09:33
Last Modified:16 Mar 2022 09:33


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