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Legitimate concerns about industry involvement in gambling research: Response to Delfabbro and King (2017)

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  • Sean Cowlishaw
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Gambling Studies
Early online date17 May 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Apr 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 17 May 2017


This paper provides a response to the commentary by Delfabbro and King (2017), which describes major criticisms of articles situated in a ‘political economy’ conceptual framework. The current paper argues that these criticisms obfuscate legitimate concerns about industry involvement in gambling research, and disregard important evidence about activities of hazardous consumption industries which provide grounds for strong concern about commercial practices of the gambling industry. Although many aspects of the commentary by Delfabbro and King (2017) are contentious, the current paper summarises conceptual and empirical literature which supports concern about: (a) agency and collaboration in practices of the gambling industry, which make assertions of equivalence with a conspiracy theory both inappropriate and misleading; and (b) the role of research on problem gambling behaviours and pathologies in supporting agendas that may undermine public health. This indicates the need for the scientific community to take seriously its role in improving awareness of the hazards of commercial involvement in gambling research, and thus helping researchers to make informed decisions about these risks and their own manner of engagement with the gambling industry.


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