Using a tool to assess the readability of text, it’s been discovered that online bookmakers have terms and conditions that at least two fifths of British adults cannot read due to their complexity. A third of terms are written in such a way estimated to only be suitable for a graduate-level audience.
The terms and conditions of thirty six online prominent bookmakers were assessed using the SMOG formula*, which is used to gauge the readability of text, estimating the education a person needs to understand a piece of writing.
According to the assessments made, each of the thirty six bookmakers’ terms require a literacy level of at least Level 2 or higher – a level that means at least 43.4% of the English adult population would not be able to read the text. Thirteen of the bookmaker terms and conditions assessed in the study were suitable for a graduate level audience.
The research was undertaken by betting tips website www.bettingexpert.com, after finding that the average bettingexpert user has accounts with four bookmakers. As such, the community accept bookmaker terms and conditions frequently, but may not be reading nor understanding the complexity of the sites’ terms of service.
According to the research of thirty six of the most prominent online bookies, the longest terms and conditions, coming in at almost 40,000 words – or half an average-length novel – belong to BetClic. The SMOG formula estimates that BetClic’s terms are as complex as Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The shortest is eleven book pages long and belong to BetVictor, estimating 250 words per book page.
A full table of results can be seen in this blog post: http://www.bettingexpert.com/blog/terms-conditions-study
The hardest terms to read belong to Fun88, with a SMOG score of 23.27. The readability measure claims the text is as complex as Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and suitable only for a graduate-level audience. The simplest terms and conditions according to SMOG score belong to Betsson.
The study also reveals that the average bookmaker terms and conditions are forty three book pages long, with a required reading level equal to Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The average bookmaker terms are so complicated that it is estimated at least 43.4% of the English adult population cannot read and understand them.
bettingexpert's terms and conditions are simpler in terms of readability than each of the bookmakers in this study, with a SMOG value of 15.57, but the terms are still as difficult to read as the Bible.
Researcher and PhD student Ewa Luger, of The University of Nottingham, remarked in recent analysis that the complexity of usually-mandatory terms and conditions is an issue of inclusiveness and accessibility, writing:
"The point of consent, where individuals must be sufficiently informed to meaningfully waive rights, is dramatically impoverished if users' understanding is incomplete."
Jesper Søgaard, CEO of bettingexpert had the following to say:
“With the ever increasing intensity of criticism directed towards aspects of the betting and gaming industry, particularly with regards to the issue of problem gambling, bookmakers are doing themselves no favours by creating terms and conditions that are beyond the grasp of segments of the population that such critics would regard as most vulnerable.
“When you consider the legalities involved, not to mention a bookmaker's own fundamental betting rules, composing the T&C's for a bookmaking operation would no doubt be a difficult task. But surely bookmakers can make their T&C's much more customer friendly. When almost half the population is estimated not to possess the education required to understand the terms that they are agreeing to, it's a situation that is not only easy game for cynics of the betting and gaming industry but one that even those of us who support the industry should challenge.”
“As an independent website dedicated to giving our users unbiased tips, we wanted to look at the industry as a whole and shine a light on the fact that more needs to be done to simplify the mandatory process of signing up for an account with bookmakers.”
For further information, please see bettingexpert.com’s blog post on the research here http://www.bettingexpert.com/blog/terms-conditions-study or contact Rich Leigh of 10 Yetis PR Agency by calling 01452 348 211 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
*In order to make this assessment the SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook) formula, developed by G. Harry McLaughlin as a more accurate and more easily calculated substitute for the Gunning fog index and published in 1969, was used to assess the readability of a body of text. The research design follows Luger et al 2013. The table below display the results which were gathered using the Literatin plugin.
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