ArticlePDF Available
arkeng strategies are essenal in a market
environment such as online sports beng wherein
product differenaon is minimal and price
inelascity robust (Hing, 2014). Business insiders
widely accept that product innovaon is instantly replicated
across competors, which are permanently seeking to
generate, so far unfruiully, a disrupve compeve edge. In
a context where the number of licensed bookmakers is
constantly growing, adversing plays a big part in luring
customers who cannot tell the difference between companies.
Adversing and markeng spend on sports beng has greatly
increased over the last five years in Europe (Lopez-Gonzalez,
Estévez & Griffiths, 2017).
In a recent paper, we outlined two of the most ulized master
narraves in online beng promoons, namely skill-enhancing
narraves – in which there is an over-emphasis on the capacies
and knowledge of the beor, and, at the other end of the
spectrum, risk-lowering narraves which under-emphasise the
risks involved in beng and typically overesmate the probability
of winning (Lopez-Gonzalez, Estévez & Griffiths, 2017).
Skill-enhancing adversing: Vahe Baloulian, CEO of the
beng soware company BetConstruct, declared that new
features were there to give customers ‘a chance to feel more in
control by engaging more oen and making decisions’ (Lopez-
Gonzalez, Estévez & Griffiths, 2017), with ‘feel’ and ‘control’ being
the keywords here. The ‘feel’ component refers to a perceived
non-factual sensaon that lies at the heart of the adversing
endeavour. The percepon of control over the beng acvity has
been found to be a common aribute of gambling narraves in
Sweden, in which elements of skill have been exaggerated (Binde,
2009), as well as in televised commercials from Canada, wherein
beng has been associated with the imagery of media sport
Mark D. Griffiths, 
Ana Estévez, 
Frederic Guerrero-Solé 
& Hibai Lopez-Gonzalez
Mark D. Griffiths
communicaon, skills, and long-meditated strategies, while luck
was downplayed (McMullan & Miller, 2008).
Many beng features newly added to online plaorms are
said by commercials to enhance the control of the user over the
outcome of the event bet upon, including more gamified
experiences (where passive beors supposedly become players),
immersive beng experiences, and fantasy sports (where the
player acvely recruits a team). In these examples, the beng
experience demands a higher involvement from the beor,
arguably resulng in a psychological transference between the
acve role of a beor execung acons and the actual influence
a beor’s acons may have on the outcome of an external event.
In essence, beng adversing contributes to the myth of
gambling as a sport (McMullan & Miller, 2008), an acvity that is
healthy, harmless, and that can be mastered with pracce and
Among the most used selling points that enhance the self-
efficacy and control of the sports beor are the narraves of
masculinity. Aributes such as loyalty to the team, being a real
man, and being brave enough to prove sporng knowledge have
been implicit in some sports beng messages, including
stereotyped gender depicons and sexualized imagery (Thomas
et al., 2015). According to Hing et al. (2016), the prototype sports
beor is male, young, tech-savvy, and professional, which aligns
with the target audience of beng adversing. This reinforces
the idea of male providers that sublimates in gambling their manly
insncts for aggression, compeon, and combat.
Risk-lowering adversing: In parallel to the skill-enhancing
strategies, adversing diminishes the harmful consequences of
excessive beng by represenng it as a risk-free acvity. The
combined narrave would be that of a safe environment where
intelligent people possess the tools to succeed. In an aempt to
lower the perceived risk inherently embedded in any beng
acvity, three major messages have been emphasized by
adversers: (i) beng is a perfectly normal acvity; (ii) errors in
beng predicons are not fatal; and (iii) beng is a social acvity
(Lopez-Gonzalez, Estévez & Griffiths, 2017).
Adversing has been frequently proposed as a significant
mechanism of gambling normalisaon including new social media
channels. The portrayal of gambling atudes and behaviours in
media representaons as well as in real life environments
promotes the idea of gambling as an intrinsic form of
entertainment. This is true for all forms of gambling but sports
beng presents some singular intensifiers. Unlike any other
gambling form, sport insls in beng its health and sanizaon
aributes (McMullan & Miller, 2008). Aributes such as fair
compeon, success through talent and perseverance, equal
opportunies and big rewards, respect for nature, green and
healthy habits are transmied to beng behaviour. Celebries
deepen that connecon as they have been proven to reduce the
perceived risk by the public of the products they endorse (Lamont
et al., 2016). Sportspeople tell the story of young, talented risk-
takers who challenged the odds but emerged successful in the
end, arguably a perfect incarnaon of the beor’s own
aspiraonal narrave.
Another markeng technique broadly employed by beng
operators concerns the provision of risk-free bets. Adversements
typically offer welcome bonuses for new customers, free bonuses
for loyal clientele, and money-back excepons in mulple
complex accumulated bets (Lopez-Gonzalez, Estévez & Griffiths,
2017). All of these free offers pose a dual threat. On the one hand,
the so-called free money requires beors to engage in further
beng in order to reclaim their benefits (leading to money losses
in the process). On the other hand, even if it is a bona fide free
bonus, problem gamblers might conceptualise beng as a riskless
acvity that entails no responsibilies even when done
A third main risk-lowering technique used in commercials is
the representaon of beng as a social form of entertainment
to be conducted alongside other people. Solitary gambling, like
solitary drinking, has been thought to be a determinant and/or
consequence of problem gambling (Griffiths, 1995). However,
some studies have raised the alarm about the misconcepon that
gambling, when done in group, cannot be problemac (Deans,
Thomas, Daube and Derevensky, 2016). In fact, peer facilitaon
has been idenfied as a fundamental contribung factor to
impulse beng, with excessive beng being more plausible
when sport matches are viewed in the company of others
(Lamont et al., 2016). Sport is a cultural product, socially
consumed (watched, pracced, discussed, and bet upon). The
social sgma aached to gambling habits might be shiing
towards its naturalisaon, a long-term process that adversing
cannot carry out on its own but can certainly facilitate.
The growth of the online sports beng industry
The online sports beng industry is a solid and rapidly growing
sector of the global economy. Drawing on the wide influence of
sport content in society and backed by nascent Internet
regulatory frameworks, bookmakers appear to have succeeded
in normalizing the acon of wagering money on the outcome of
a sporng compeon (Parke et al., 2014). Sports beng,
especially in the context of football, has tradionally been an
<< The media reassure the relationship built on
trust between betting bookmakers and bettors.
Since their inception, sports media and gambling
have had parallel trajectories. >>
asynchronous experience wherein game watching served, among
other things, as a verificaon of the outcome of a bet placed
hours or days before the game. However, online beng via
mobile phones incorporang in-play beng opons, has
synchronized the beng and watching acvies, making them
both happen simultaneously and hence allowing a larger degree
of synergies between adjacent industries.
As we have argued, fans have become more familiarised with
sport compeons, their involvement with sport (and sports
beng) has grown accordingly (Lopez-Gonzalez & Griffiths,
2018a). The development of the telecommunicaon technologies
and the reduced cost of transming sports events worldwide
have brought compeons and fans together in unprecedented
ways. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that sport is
frequently among the most viewed television programmes in
every country and among every age group. Beng operators have
been wise enough to capitalize on the massive amount of
televised sport available to the consumers. Television has made
spectators integrate sports into their everyday life experiences,
and enhance their knowledge, awareness, loyalty, team
idenficaon, and belonging. Over the last couple of decades, the
progressive transformaon of sport into a commodity would not
have been possible without the fundamental contribuon of
mass-mediated sport. Given this context, online sports beng is
arguably a predictable ramificaon of the complex
commodificaon process traversing sport today (Lopez-Gonzalez
& Griffiths, 2018a).
The media reassure the relaonship built on trust between
beng bookmakers and beors. Since their incepon, sports
media and gambling have had parallel trajectories. The honour of
being the first sports-based media outlet in history is commonly
aributed to the Boston Gazee of 1733. The magazine included
racing fixture tables so readers could bet money on horses (Boyle,
2006). In an era when informaon did not travel as quickly and
as reliably as today, gamblers needed assurances about the facts
they were beng on. The true outcome of a game or a race
happening miles away required an uninterested third party to
objecvely deliver the informaon needed. The trust between
bookmakers and consumers evolved toward more sophiscated
ways as the transmission plaorms became more capable of
presenng the spectators with vivid and oen live proof of the
contests (Lopez-Gonzalez & Griffiths, 2018a).
A number of examples illustrate the extent of the
normalisaon of beng in everyday sports media. First, media
sports websites are big affiliate partners of beng operators.
Affiliaon in online markeng means that if a reader is redirected
by a banner from a sports site to a beng site, and later this fan
places a bet there, the sports site gets a proporon of the net
gaming revenue generated in the beng acvity. Although no
concrete figures are available as to the extent of this affiliaon
market between sports and beng, two proxy figures may shed
some light. More specifically, the proliferaon of beng banners
placed in online sports outlets (and in illegal live streaming feeds),
make a compelling argument concerning the existence and
volume of affiliate traffic (Lopez-Gonzalez & Griffiths, 2018a).
Furthermore, back in 2012, gambling websites (sport and non-
sport) were believed to aract 50% of its clients through affiliate
markeng. If this was the case for online sports beng, then it
would be safe to assume that a large proporon of that 50% must
come from sites producing sports content and targeng sports
fans (i.e., sports journalism).
Second, on a subtler narrave level, beng odds increasingly
feature in news themselves. For instance, in 2016, Brish football
club Leicester City were the unexpected Premier League football
champions. The story of a team overcoming the budget obstacles
and winning the Premiership tle was consistently emphasised
using a beng narrave. The angle selected by many outlets was
not the underdog defeang the Goliaths of English football but
focused on the 5000-1 odds that Leicester City were given at the
start of the 2015-16 season to win the league. Beors who
wagered money before the season began (and under such
disadvantageous circumstances), were portrayed as true fans.
Bookmakers, with esmated losses in the area of £25 million
(Rayner & Brown, 2016), did not wait to capitalise on the event
and promoted themselves as a business that delivered big money
to fans.
Third, and sll on a narrave level, the fact that data
companies deliver informaon to both media outlets and beng
companies makes it more probable that the kind of news that is
published is at the same me conveniently shaped for beng
purposes. Stascs and ephemerides (also supersous
numerical coincidences) idenfy paerns in past confrontaons
between two teams and project them for the build-up of the next
game, manufacturing the narrave of a probable outcome
without explicitly encouraging a bet on it (Lopez-Gonzalez &
Griffiths, 2018a).
Fourth, sport media has been very successful in helping
journalists in the transion from sport experts to beng experts.
In a study conducted in Spain, researchers cross-checked a list of
the top ten sport so-called journalists in the country with the most
Twier followers to see if they had any sort of relaonship with
the beng industry. The results showed that all of ten sports
journalists had current or past endorsement deals with beng
companies, with some even launching their own online beng
plaorm (Lopez-Gonzalez & Tulloch, 2015). These journalists are
regarded as knowledgeable experts that can provide followers
with inside informaon (i.e., ‘good’ ps) about the status of the
teams and sportspeople. Some of these journalists, managing
accounts with over one million followers, funcon as influencers,
promong and normalising the use of beng sites to adults and
minors alike.
Empirical research on sports beng adversing
Over the last 18 months, we have published a number of papers
examining various aspects of sports beng adversing (i.e.,
Guerrero-Solé, Lopez-Gonzalez, Griffiths, 2017; Lopez-Gonzalez,
Estévez & Griffiths, 2017, 2018; Lopez-Gonzalez, Estévez,
Jimenez-Murcia & Griffiths, 2018; Lopez-Gonzalez & Griffiths,
2016, 2018a, 2018b; Lopez-Gonzalez, Guerrero-Solé, Estévez &
Griffiths, 2018; Lopez-Gonzalez, Guerrero-Sole & Griffiths, 2018).
A number of these papers have come from an in-depth analysis
of Brish and Spanish sports beng television adverts (N=135)
from 2014 to 2016. Our aim has been to understand how beors
and beng are being represented. In one of the studies using
content analysis (i.e., Lopez-Gonzalez, Guerrero-Sole & Griffiths,
2018), 31 different variables grouped into seven broad categories
were assessed, including general informaon about the advert,
the characters and situaons represented, the idenficaon of
the characters with sports, the use of online beng, the co-
representaon of gambling along other risky behaviours such as
eang junk food and drinking alcohol, the amount of money
wagered, and other variables such as the representaon of free
bets, humour, and celebries. The results showed a male-
dominant beng representaon with no interacon between
women. We found that beors were typically depicted
surrounded by people but isolated in their beng, emphasising
the individual consumpon pracce that mobile beng
promotes. In-play beng was observed in almost half of the
adverts. We also found some evidence of beng while watching
sport in beng adverts being associated with emoonally
charged situaons such as celebraons and/or alcohol drinking.
Beors were typically depicted staking small amounts of money
with large potenal returns, implying high risk bets.
In another study (i.e., Lopez-Gonzalez, Guerrero-Solé, Estévez
& Griffiths, 2018), we used the same dataset to carry out a
metaphorical conceptualisaon of online sports beng
adversing. We found four main structural metaphors that
shaped how online sports beng adversing can be understood:
beng as (i) an act of love, (ii) a market, (iii) a sport, and (iv) a
natural environment. In general, these metaphors, which were
found widely across 29 different beng brands, facilitated the
percepon of beors as acve players, with an execuve role in
the sport events bet upon, and greater control over bet
outcomes. Again using the same dataset, we carried out a
‘grounded theory’ analysis (Lopez-Gonzalez, Estévez & Griffiths,
2018) and found that individual themes found in online sports
beng adverts aligned in a single core narrave, construcng a
dual persuasive strategy of sports beng adversing. The core
narrave was (i) to reduce the perceived risk involved in beng
(with themes such as beng with friends, free money offers,
humour, or the use of celebries) while (ii) enhancing the
perceived control of beors (including themes of masculinity and
sport knowledge). We also found that new technological features
of sports beng plaorms (e.g., live in-play beng) were being
used by adversers to build narraves in which the ability to
predict a sports outcome was overlapped by the ability of beors
to use such plaorms, equalizing the ease of beng with the ease
of winning. We concluded that the construcon of a magnified
idea of control in sports beng adversing is a cause for concern
that requires close regulatory scruny.
Although many influences for beng behaviour exist, this short
arcle has outlined some of the contemporary areas in the
markeng and adversing of sports beng. The product
innovaons prompted by the internet have essenally
transformed the essence of sports beng acvity. Our arcle
raises awareness about the issues and challenges that might lie
ahead as our sociees connue collecng more data concerning
the long-term consequences of the commercialisaon strategies
of beng brands. Unl now, the social concern about perceived
excessive markeng and adversing of beng products has
conflicted with the paucity of definive research demonstrang
their unequivocal contribuon to problem gambling behaviours.
Further research is needed in order to scienfically inform the
most appropiate interacon between bookmakers, media,
regulators, and consumers.
Binde P (2009) ‘You could become a millionaire’: Truth, decepon, and imaginaon
in gambling adversing. In: Kingma S (ed.), Global Gambling: Cultural Perspecves
on Gambling Organizaons, London: Routledge, pp. 171–194.
Boyle, R. (2006). Sports journalism. Context and Issues. London: Sage.
Griffiths, M.D. (1995). Adolescent gambling. London: Routledge.
Guerrero-Solé, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Griffiths, M.D. (2017). Online gambling
adversing and the Third-Person Effect: A pilot study. Internaonal Journal of Cyber
Behavior, Psychology and Learning, 7(2), 15-30.
Hing, N. (2014). Sports beng and adversing (AGRC Discussion Paper No. 4).
Melbourne: Australian Gambling Research Centre.
Hing, N., Russell, A.M.T., Vitartas, P., & Lamont, M. (2016). Demographic,
behavioural and normave risk factors for gambling problems amongst sports
beors. Journal of Gambling Studies, 32, 625–641.
Lamont, M., Hing, N. & Vitartas, P. (2016). Affecve response to gambling
promoons during televised sport: A qualitave analysis. Sport Management
Review, 19, 319-331.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Estévez, A. & Griffiths, M.D. (2017). Markeng and adversing
online sports beng: A problem gambling perspecve. Journal of Sport and Social
Issues, 41, 256-272.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Estévez, A. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018). Controlling the illusion of
control: A grounded theory of sports beng adversing in the UK. Internaonal
Gambling Studies, 18, 39-55.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. Estévez, A., Jimenez-Murcia, S. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018). Alcohol
drinking and low nutrional value food eang behaviour of sports beors in
gambling adverts. Internaonal Journal of Mental Health and Addicon, 16, 81-89.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. & Griffiths, M.D. (2016). Is European online gambling regulaon
adequately addressing in-play beng adversing? Gaming Law Review and
Economics, 20, 495-503.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018a). Understanding the convergence of
online sports beng markets. Internaonal Review for the Sociology of Sport. Epub
ahead of print. doi: 10.1177/1012690216680602
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018b). Beng, forex trading, and fantasy
gaming sponsorships - A responsible markeng inquiry into the 'gamblificaon' of
English football. Internaonal Journal of Mental Health and Addicon, 16, 404-419.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. Guerrero-Solé, F., Estévez, A. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018). Beng
is loving and beors are predators: A Conceptual Metaphor Approach to online
sports beng adversing. Journal of Gambling Studies, Epub ahead of print. doi:
Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Guerrero-Sole, F. & Griffiths, M.D. (2018). A content analysis
of how ‘normal’ sports beng behaviour is represented in gambling adversing.
Addicon Research and Theory, 26, 238-247.
Lopez-Gonzalez, H. & Tulloch, C.D. (2015). Enhancing media sport consumpon:
Online gambling in European football. Media Internaonal Australia, 155, 130–139.
McMullan, J.L. & Miller, D. (2008) All in! The commercial adversing of offshore
gambling on television. Journal of Gambling Issues, 22, 230-251.
Parke, A., Harris, A., Parke, J, Rigbye, J. & Blaszczynski, A. (2014). Responsible
markeng and adversing in gambling: A crical review. Journal of Gambling
Business and Economics 8(3), 21–35.
Rayner, G. & Brown, O. (2016) Leicester City win Premier League and cost bookies
biggest ever payout. The Telegraph. Available from:
Thomas, S.L., Bestman, A., Pi, H., Deans, E., Randle, M., Stoneham, M. & Daube,
M. (2015). The markeng of wagering on social media: An analysis of promoonal
content on YouTube, Twier and Facebook. Victoria, Australia: Victorian
Responsible Gambling Foundaon.
Dr. Mark Griffiths is Disnguished Professor of Behavioural
Addicon at Nongham Trent University, and Director of
the Internaonal Gaming Research Unit. He is
internaonally known for his work into gambling and gaming
addicons. He has published over 650 refereed research
papers, five books, 150+ book chapters and over 1500 other
arcles. He has won 18 naonal/internaonal awards for his
work including the US Naonal Council on Problem
Gambling Lifeme Research Award (2013).
Hibai Lopez-Gonzalez is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at
the Internaonal Gaming Research Unit of Nongham
Trent University (UK) and the University of Duesto (Bilbao,
Spain). He is currently invesgang the structural and
persuasive characteriscs of mediated sport content and
sports beng adversing and their influence on sports
beng behaviour, with emphasis on a problem gambling
perspecve, and has published numerous papers in the
gambling studies field.
Ana Estévez is senior lecturer of psychology at the
Department of Personality, Psychological Assessment and
Treatment of the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). She
is also director of the MSc in general health psychology
there. Her research interests are addicve behaviours,
cognive and emoonal processes, and early maladapve
experiences, and has published widely in the addicons
Frederic Guerrero-Solé is a lecturer of Sociology of
Communicaon at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona
(Spain), where he obtained his PhD in Public
Communicaon. He is a member of the research group
UNICA (Audiovisual Communicaon Research Unity). He has
published over twenty arcles in naonal and internaonal
... This is attained by teaming up with a brand that adds value through services or product extensions that increase the differentiation factor of the club (Bühler and Nufer, 2013) and builds upon consumers' emotions (Aaker, 1996;Coleman, 2018). Similar to the 'reaching out' strategy, skills-enhancing narratives based on focused information shall develop and reinforce knowledge and competence of their recipients (Griffiths et al., 2018). This may be delivered through detailed information on both brands' websites, through their email newsletters, via PR campaigns, and on social media (Batra and Keller, 2016). ...
Full-text available
The 'PSG x Jordan' partnership: How brand cohesiveness and team identification impact the co-branding fit between Paris Saint-Germain and the Jordan Brand The following study examines the influence of brand cohesiveness and team identification on the fit of co-branding between the French football club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG) and the Nike-owned Jordan Brand, an American sportswear and apparel brand. This article further investigates the effect of co-branding fit on attitude towards the Jordan Brand and the intentions to purchase Jordan-branded products. Quantitative data were collected from 232 social media users worldwide, who either follow PSG, the Jordan Brand, or engaged with the hashtag #PSGxJordan. The hypothesised relationships were tested through a confirmatory factor analysis. The research found that, in regard to the surveyed sample, brand cohesiveness of the Jordan Brand has a stronger positive influence on the fit of co-branding compared to team identification with PSG. Furthermore, the study found that their co-branding fit has a moderately strong and positive effect on consumers' attitude toward the Jordan Brand, and, ultimately, that attitude has a very strong positive effect on the intentions to purchase Jordan-branded merchandise. The article offers recommendations on co-branding strategies based upon managing core or extended product complementarity and entering existing or new target markets with a co-branded partnership. The 'reaching beyond' strategy is considered the most appropriate for the given partnership.
Full-text available
The legalisation of online gambling in multiple territories has caused a growth in the exposure of consumers to online sports betting (OSB) advertising. While some efforts have been made to understand the visible structure of betting promotional messages, little is known about the latent components of OSB advertisements. The present study sought to address this issue by examining the metaphorical conceptualisation of OSB advertising. A sample of Spanish and British television OSB advertisements from 2014 to 2016 was analysed (N = 133). Following Lakoff and Johnson’s conceptual metaphor theory, four main structural metaphors that shaped how OSB advertising can be understood were identified: betting as (1) an act of love, (2) a market, (3) a sport, and (4) a natural environment. In general, these metaphors, which were found widely across 29 different betting brands, facilitated the perception of bettors as active players, with an executive role in the sport events bet upon, and greater control over bet outcomes.
Full-text available
Environmental stimuli in the form of marketing inducements to gamble money on sports have increased in recent years. The purpose of the present paper is to tackle the extended definition of the gamblification of sport using sponsorship and partnership deals of gambling, forex trading, and fantasy gaming as a proxy for assessing its environmental impact. Using data about sponsorship deals from English Football Premier League, the paper builds on the evidence of English football’s gamblification process to discuss the impact that the volume, penetration, and marketing strategies of sports betting might have on public health and well-being. Findings demonstrate that gambling marketing has become firmly embedded in the financial practices of many Premiership football clubs. It is argued that such associations are not trivial, and that the symbolic linkage of sport and newer gambling forms can become an issue of public health, especially affecting vulnerable groups such as minors and problem gamblers. The present study is the first to explore in-depth the relationship and potential consequences and psychosocial impacts of sports-related marketing, particularly in relation to football.
Full-text available
The prevalence of sports betting advertising has become a major concern for gambling regulators, particularly since the legalization of online gambling in many European jurisdictions. Although the composition of gambling advertisement narratives has received some limited attention, nothing is known regarding how betting advertisements (often referred to as Badverts^ or Bcommercials^) might be associating gambling with other potentially risky behaviors. The present paper examines the representation of alcohol drinking and low nutritional value food eating in sports betting advertising. By means of a mixed-methods approach to content analysis, a sample of British and Spanish soccer betting adverts was analyzed (N = 135). The results suggest that betting advertising aligns drinking alcohol with sports culture and significantly associates emotionally charged sporting situations such as watching live games or celebrating goals with alcohol. Additionally, alcohol drinking is more frequent in betting adverts with a higher number of characters, linking friendship bonding and alcohol drinking (especially beer) in the context of sports gambling.
Full-text available
Sports betting is growing exponentially, is heavily marketed and successfully targets young adult males. Associated gambling problems are increasing. Therefore, understanding risk factors for problem gambling amongst sports bettors is an increasingly important area of research to inform the appropriate design and targeting of public health and treatment interventions. This study aimed to identify demographic, behavioural and normative risk factors for gambling problems amongst sports bettors. An online survey of 639 Australian sports bettors using online, telephone and retail betting channels was conducted. Results indicated that vulnerable sports bettors for higher risk gambling are those who are young, male, single, educated, and employed full-time or a full-time student. Risk of problem gambling was also found to increase with greater frequency and expenditure on sports betting, greater diversity of gambling involvement, and with more impulsive responses to betting opportunities, including in-play live action betting. Normative influences from media advertising and from significant others were also associated with greater problem gambling risk. The results of this study can inform a suite of intervention, protection and treatment initiatives targeted especially at young male adults and adolescents that can help to limit the harm from this gambling form.
Full-text available
Gambling promotions extensively punctuate contemporary televised sport broadcasts and concerns have been raised about their potential impacts on vulnerable groups. Research suggests advertising can shape individuals’ emotions, or affect, towards a product/brand and can subsequently influence purchasing decisions. Consequently, understanding how promotion of gambling influences sport viewers is an important although sparsely addressed area of research. This paper presents exploratory research on affective responses towards gambling promotions displayed during televised sport. Eight online focus groups were conducted with a sample of regular sports viewers in Queensland, Australia. Participants were exposed to a variety of gambling promotions used in National Rugby League match telecasts. Utilising adaptive theory, themes reflecting affective responses to each promotional technique were identified. A range of positive and negative affective responses were identified including arousal, joy, anger and worry. A conceptual model representing emergent affective response categories, message delivery techniques and moderating variables is proposed to inform a broader future research agenda examining how gambling promotions during televised sport influence affective response and concomitant gambling intention.
Sports betting advertising has arguably permeated contemporary sport consumption in many countries. Advertisements build narratives that represent situations and characters that normalize betting behaviour and raise public concerns regarding their detrimental effect on vulnerable groups. Adopting a grounded theory approach, the present study examined a British sample of sports betting advertisements (N = 102) from 2014 to 2016. The analysis revealed that individual themes aligned in a single core narrative, constructing a dual persuasive strategy of sports betting advertising: (i) to reduce the perceived risk involved in betting (with themes such as betting with friends, free money offers, humour, or the use of celebrities) while (ii) enhancing the perceived control of bettors (including themes of masculinity and sport knowledge). In addition, new technological features of sports betting platforms (e.g. live in-play betting) were used by advertisers to build narratives in which the ability to predict a sports outcome was overlapped by the ability of bettors to use such platforms, equalizing the ease of betting with the ease of winning. Based on the data analysed, it was concluded that the construction of a magnified idea of control in sports betting advertising is a cause for concern that requires close regulatory scrutiny.
The pervasiveness of sports betting marketing and advertising is arguably normalising betting behaviour among increasingly larger groups of population. In their adverts, bookmakers represent characters and situations that conventionalise betting and promote specific behaviours while ignoring others. The present study examined a sample of British and Spanish sports betting television adverts (N = 135) from 2014 to 2016 to understand how bettors and betting are being represented. Using content analysis, 31 different variables grouped into seven broad categories were assessed, including general information about the advert, the characters and situations represented, the identification of the characters with sports, the use of online betting, the co-representation of gambling along other risky behaviours such as eating junk food and drinking alcohol, the amount of money wagered, and other variables such as the representation of free bets, humour, and celebrities. The results showed a male-dominant betting representation with no interaction between women. Typically, bettors were depicted surrounded by people but isolated in their betting, emphasising the individual consumption practice that mobile betting promotes. In-play betting was observed in almost half of the adverts. A little empirical evidence indicates that betting while watching sport in betting adverts is associated with emotionally charged situations such as celebrations and/or alcohol drinking. Bettors were typically depicted staking small amounts of money with large potential returns, implying high risk bets. Overall, the study provides preliminary evidence in understanding the social representation of betting behaviour by bookmakers and critiques the problematic consequences of such representation from a public health perspective.
Gambling disorder is known to have a negatively detrimental impact on affected individual’s physical and psychological health, social relationships, and finances. Via remote technologies (e.g., Internet, mobile phones, and interactive television), gambling has come out of gambling venues and has brought the potential for online gambling to occur anywhere (e.g., the home, the workplace, and on the move). Alongside the rise of online gambling, online gambling advertising have spread throughout all type of media. In a sample of 201 Spanish university students, the present study explored the perceived influence of online gambling advertising. More specifically it examined the Third-Person Effect (TPE), and its consequences on individuals’ willingness to support censorship or public service advertising. The findings demonstrate that despite the difference on the perception of the effects of online gambling advertising, it scarcely accounts for the behavioural outcomes analysed. On the contrary, awareness of problem gambling and, above all, paternalistic attitudes appear to explain this support.
In this article, online sports betting is explored with the objective of critically examining the potential impact on problem gambling of the emerging product features and advertising techniques used to market it. First, the extent of the issue is assessed by reviewing the sports betting prevalence rates and its association with gambling disorders, acknowledging the methodological difficulties of an unambiguous identification of what exactly constitutes sports-related gambling today. Second, the main changes in the marketization of online betting products are outlined, with specific focus on the new situational and structural characteristics that such products present along with the convergence of online betting with other adjacent products. Third, some of the most prevalent advertising master narratives employed by the betting industry are introduced, and the implications for problem gamblers and minors are discussed.