Health Problems

Gambling research shows rapid increases in sport related gambling advertising since 2013 – 2014

A survey led by a University of Warwick psychology researcher of gambling advertising research since 2014 shows a shows rapid increases in amount and potential influence.

The research is by Philip Newall from the University of Warwick, with colleagues from: the University of Stirling, The University of Glasgow, and the University of Edinburgh, and is entitled “Gambling marketing from 2014 to 2018: A literature review” and it has been published today the 11th March 2019 in the journal Current Addiction Reports.

The research says that current trends now challenge the assertion, made only 5 years ago in 2014 by Per Binde from the University of Gothenburg, that the impact of advertising on problem gambling was “relatively small”. In contrast, the new research shows increases in the amount of gambling advertising and its potential influence, especially around complex bets, which it suggests problem gamblers might find particularly alluring. The review also highlighted strategies such as adverts featuring celebrities, which might be particularly attractive to young people.

The research provides an update on what has been learned since Per Binde concluded in 2014 that, “The impact of advertising on the prevalence of problem gambling is in general likely to be neither negligible nor considerable, but rather relatively small.”

The review of gambling advertising noted several trends including:

· 17% of all advertising shown around ITV’s coverage of the 2018 World Cup was for gambling, often featuring complex live-odds adverts for bets such as, “England to win by three or more goals, Harry Kane to score, and over 11 corners”.

· Analysis of three BBC Match of the Day episodes revealed that each contained an average of over 250 gambling logo exposures, more than the average number visible during a full televised Premier League match shown on a commercial broadcaster (Cassidy & Ovenden, 2017).

· Data from the UK’s Gambling Commission shows that 10% of 11-16 year olds follow at least one gambling company on social media (Gambling Commission, 2017). One study of gambling marketing across Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube found that messages could be high volume, and many messages were not clearly marked as promotional material (Thomas et al., 2015). Another Australian study of 11-16 year old basketball fans found that 55% could recall seeing gambling advertising on social media (Thomas et al., 2018).

However the survey also found some positive trends University of Warwick researcher Philip Newall said:

“The review also showed that attitudes towards gambling marketing appear to be changing. Recently, countries to restrict gambling advertising include Belgium and Australia with the Australian decision being based on the impact of daytime gambling advertising on children. The UK’s biggest gambling companies have voluntarily agreed to stop gambling advertising around pre-watershed live sport, although the industry’s total expenditure on online marketing is five times higher than TV advertising. Italy, meanwhile, has scheduled a complete ban on gambling advertising, effective from 2019. Any informed legislative opinion should be based on the evidence which has been collected to date.”

Fiona Dobbie, co-author and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, commented:

“Our review has shown the rise of gambling advertising especially in sports sponsorship, which contributes to the normalisation of gambling and is especially concerning amongst vulnerable groups such as, young people and problem gamblers. The reviews highlights the subtle ways advertising may influence our attitudes and gambling behaviour which will be of interest to regulators, legislators and the public.”

Professor Gerda Reith, a co-author of the study, said:

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