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J Gambl Stud. 2010 Dec;26(4):593-609. doi: 10.1007/s10899-010-9182-4.

Using fear appeals in warning labels to promote responsible gambling among VLT players: the key role of depth of information processing.

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Eafit University, Cra 49 # 7Sur-50, Medellin, Colombia.


Video lottery terminals (VLT) are a highly lucrative gambling format, but at the same time they are among the most hazardous. Previous research has shown that threatening warnings may be an appropriate approach for promoting protective behavior. The present study explores the potential benefits of threatening warnings in the fight against compulsive gambling. A 4 × 2 factorial design experiment was used to test our model based on both Elaboration Likelihood Model and Protection Motivation Theory. 258 VLT adult players (58% males, 42% females) with various degrees of problem gambling were exposed to three threat levels (plus a control condition) from two different sources (i.e., either a medical source or a source related to the provider of VLT's). Our results show that both higher threat warnings and the medical source of warnings enhance Depth of Information Processing. It was also found that Depth of Information Processing affects positively attitude change and compliance intentions. The theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

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