An investigation into social media marketing of gambling within Great Britain, its impact upon behaviour and the potential for effective safer gambling promotion.

Houghton, Scott Peter Benjamin (2021) An investigation into social media marketing of gambling within Great Britain, its impact upon behaviour and the potential for effective safer gambling promotion. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
houghton.scott_phd_13004327.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: There is a growing awareness of gambling as a public health issue in Great Britain, whereby harm occurring from gambling extends beyond individuals with a diagnosis of gambling disorder. Gambling marketing has been highlighted as something which may contribute towards gambling harm. The gambling industry in Great Britain is placing increasing focus upon marketing their products on social media. However, minimal research has focused on how gambling is marketed on social media in Great Britain or how bettors respond to such marketing.

Methods: An observational approach was taken within the first two studies in order to assess: the types of content included within gambling marketing on social media, the underlying messages of such content, the types of bets advertised and the success of advertised bets. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was carried out upon qualitative data from 10 frequent gamblers to explore how they think about gambling marketing. Two quantitative, online experimental studies were also carried out to assess how regular bettors respond to examples of advertisements on social media and whether social media can be used to effectively promote safer gambling.

Findings: Concerns were highlighted about both the frequency and content of social media marketing. Bets included within marketing were largely unsuccessful and simulation data highlighted that the chances of making money upon advertised bets decreased as the number of bets included within the simulations increased. Gambling affiliate marketing was highlighted as a specific concern, given their large number of direct advertisements and their positioning as ‘betting communities’. Bettors were found to place increased confidence in affiliate marketing for specific types of bets. They also perceived marketing as something that they could take advantage of to increase their chances of winning, whilst acting as a risk factor for those perceived as being vulnerable. Receiving safer gambling messages on social media for two weeks led to a reduction in gambling behaviour compared to the previous two weeks, however further research is needed to clarify whether the messages were responsible for the observed changes.

Conclusions: Findings highlight numerous ways in which social media marketing has the potential to contribute towards gambling harm. Increased regulation of both operator and affiliate marketing is required to ensure such marketing is conducted in an open and safe manner.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sports Betting, Content Analysis, IPA, Harm prevention, Addiction
Subjects: C800 Psychology
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 08:37
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 13:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics