AngusD switched from pro chess to poker two decades ago and has been professionally involved in the game on numerous levels since the very beginning of online poker, including playing as a poker ambassador both online and at major festivals around the globe. He has written much about the game over the years, and brings to YPD a wealth of experience in all aspects of the poker industry. Meanwhile, his many years on the pro chess circuit (he’s an International Master and prolific author) afford him an interesting perspective on the psychology of poker.

· Published 09.03.2022 · last updated 07.03.2022

How often do you receive incentives to participate in online gambling through the incentive of free bets and bonuses and so on? This question is as an important one for all kinds of online gambling operators and related companies who are constantly endeavouring to find a balance that can attract/retain customers without hassling them. The UK’s Gambling Commission has carried out a detailed, extensive survey into what level of communication people receive from operators in terms of incentives to gamble, and what impact these communications have on the recipients’ attitude to online gambling.   

Data was collected via an online survey in the second half of 2021 from approximately 8,000 adults aged 18+ in Great Britain. Variables that were factored in to the results included age, gender, region, social grade, tenure and working status. The aim was to learn more about the prevalence and subsequent impact of free bets/bonus offers, with people being asked to report on the frequency/volume of the incentives they received as well as the types of offer. Additionally, the recipients were asked to describe the impact – if any – of such incentives on their gambling behaviour

The results are both interesting and informative. Over two thirds had received some form of incentive during the previous 12 months, with most being free bets/spins and sign up offers. The most common form of communication was via email.

The majority of respondents (61%) reported that their gambling behaviour was not influenced, but 31% said that receiving free bets/bonus offers did encourage them to gamble more.

Meanwhile, 28% gambled for the first time as a consequence of getting a bonus offer, while 35% of those who already gambled online took up bonus offers with operators with whom they had hitherto never gambled. Perhaps even more significant was the fact that 28% of respondents started to gamble on a new activity as a result of receiving a bonus offer. This will be of particular interest to those operators who run numerous platforms. Over a fifth (21%) restarted gambling after a break upon receiving an offer. 

Most would consider these figures neither high or low, but they are worth noting nonetheless. It was also significant that as many as 37% rather craftily used the free offers they received but did not go on to spend any further funds on gambling.

Of the actual incentives themselves, the majority were for free bets/spins and sign-up offers, with 41% of the communications being ‘reminders’ to gamble with a bonus included.

Email (47%) was the most common form of sending people Incentives, and gamblers reported being least likely (8%) to receive incentives via notifications from non-gambling companies.

Up to 88% of respondents said they had received an incentive at least once a month over the previous year.

As with all such advertising and direct incentivizing, it’s never easy for companies to find that sweet spot that furnishes (potential) customers with the relevant information about offers they can take advantage of and avoid crossing the line at which it becomes an annoyance. In fact, this survey found that the incentives were received with roughly the same numbers on either side of the spectrum – 39% agreed and 41% disagreed with the statement ‘I like receiving free bets/bonus offers to gamble’. Having said that, 47% of consumers felt that they receive too many gambling incentives. 

Online Gambling Statistics

  • 18% of online gamblers follow gambling operators on social media
  • 19% of online gamblers spend more on gambling due to advertising
  • Only 18% of online gamblers read T&C’s
  • 53% of online gamblers have gambled using a mobile/tablet during the last month
  • 95% of online gamblers have gambled at home during the last month
  • Online gamblers have an average of three accounts
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