Gamified Savings as a Problem Gambling Intervention

Last registered on April 29, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Gamified Savings as a Problem Gambling Intervention
Initial registration date
March 22, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 30, 2023, 2:58 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 29, 2023, 4:38 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

University of Nairobi

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
Makerere University, Uganda
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The purpose of this study is to test new innovations in financial services aimed at helping vulnerable youth expand their saving and reduce their exposure to problem sports betting and gambling in Kenya and Uganda. Existing literature suggests that lottery linked savings accounts can increase peoples' savings while crowding out expenditures on negative return betting and gambling activities. This project aims to extend those insights by leveraging the other component contributing to the widespread popularity of sports betting across the globe: fun from predicting the outcomes of international football matches. Our lab-in-the-field experiment will allow for us to test the individual and joint effects of savings products that incorporate the potential for winning large (but low likelihood) prizes as well as the effects of fun in the form of gamification of this savings reward, built to resemble the structure of sports betting. In effect, this project will examine if savings products that leverage skewed rewards and a gamified experience increase savings and potentially crowd out other problematic sports betting behavior.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Barasa, Laura et al. 2023. "Gamified Savings as a Problem Gambling Intervention ." AEA RCT Registry. April 29.
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


The intervention focuses on a soccer prize-linked savings product – a combination of a savings account and a lottery based on soccer outcomes. Typical prize-linked savings account functions as follows: potentially win a huge jackpot, without having to risk losing money. This intervention may appeal to bettors with an appetite for lottery-like products, and provide a mechanism for increasing savings and reduce gambling expenditure. We argue that betting is a bundled product that comprises of both fun and the opportunity for skewness of payouts. Gamification comes from making predictions on certain matches, which is the fun component in the game.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Gamified soccer prize-linked savings and gambling expenditure
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Actual savings and gambling expenditure
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This is a lab-in-the-field experiment.

Participants will be randomly assigned into one of four treatment groups as follows:

1. Low Variance (Non Skewness) – No Gamification: Simple interest savings product (at the prevailing market rates). This is the control group
2. High Variance (Skewness) – No Gamification: Prize-linked savings product with the same expected return as the first group, but the potential for a large prize is determined by a random drawing. The principal amount is guaranteed but the interest on the principal goes to the lottery instead of being added to the principal.
3. Low Variance (Non-skewness) – Gamification: Soccer-based prize-linked savings product where there is potential for a small prize that is determined by the outcome of the individual's predictions on upcoming soccer matches.
4. High Variance (Skewness) – Gamification: Soccer-based prize-linked savings product where there is potential for a large prize that is determined by the outcome of the individual's predictions on upcoming soccer matches.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done in the office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individuals are the unit of randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals (1000 from Kenya and 1000 from Uganda).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1000 control, 1000 treated (split in half for each country i.e., Kenya and Uganda)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Based on a conservative power calculation, this study will use a sample size of 2000 individuals split evenly between Kenya and Uganda. The power calculation assumes a 5 percent level of statistical significance and a statistical power of 80 percent. The power calculation further assumes a monthly gambling expenditure of KES 1720/Uganda Shillings [UGX] 53,000 (i.e. US$14). These benchmark values for the outcome indicators are from the 2021 Financial Access Household Survey conducted in Kenya that included monthly gambling expenditure from a sample of sports bettors. This sample size will enable the study to detect a minimum of KES 305/UGX 9,500 (i.e. US$3) decrease in monthly gambling expenditure, and an increase of an equivalent amount for monthly savings. The formula used for determining the sample size is as follows: Parameter Value Definition α 0.05 Significance level β 0.8 Desired power of the test Tail 2 One-tailed or two-tailed test n_min 1000 The minimum sample size decided beforehand to determine t values σ_y 1720 The pooled total standard deviation of the estimated effect on the outcome variable P 0.5 The proportion of the study that is randomly assigned to the treatment group δ 305 Minimum detectable effect t_1 1.96 T-value corresponding to the desired significance level of the test t_2 0.84 T-value corresponding to the desired power of the design n 1000 The size of the study sample
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
United States International University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number