The Appeal of Gambling Advertising on Twitter to Children and Young Persons.

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

With the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, the United Kingdom deregulated the gambling market and opened the door to advertising for sports betting and online casinos. Today, 16 years later, there are increasing concerns regarding children and young persons' gambling behaviour. People aged 16-24 and 25-34 now form the largest age groups in non-lottery gambling activities, and the number of UK children with gambling problems has quadrupled to more than 50,000 in just four years. At the same time, the gambling industry’s increasing advertising spend is shifting more and more to social media advertising and the question arises whether young users are targeted by these gambling activities – therefore breaching current gambling advertising regulations, which prescribe that "Gambling marketing must not be of particular appeal to children and young persons". To date, however, no research included children to assess whether gambling adverts appeal to them. To address this research gap and present policy recommendations, this research investigates whether gambling advertising on Twitter is of particular appeal to children and young persons. Because very little is known about gambling adverts on Twitter, two preliminary studies were conducted. Sharing similar methodologies (big data analytics and manual content analysis), the first study focused on conventional advertising, whereas the second study focused on content marketing. Based on the preliminary studies' novel findings about volume, content and regulatory compliance of gambling adverts, the third and main study, tested the appeal of Twitter gambling adverts in 653 participants aged 11-76 in an online questionnaire. The empirical findings suggest that gambling advertising on Twitter is multi-faceted, of very high volume, substantially contravenes current regulations – and appears to be of particular appeal to children and young persons. The research, therefore, offers several contributions to social media, gambling and marketing literature. It concludes with recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders.
Date of Award28 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SponsorsStiftung der deutschen Wirtschaft (Foundation of German Business)
SupervisorAgnes Nairn (Supervisor) & Nikolaos Stylos (Supervisor)

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