Date: 15 Jan 2008

Cultural Icons and Marketing of Gambling

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Abstract

A number of different countries and states have or are in the process of developing formal or informal guidelines to govern gambling advertising and marketing of gambling. There is a growing consensus that gambling advertising should not mislead the public, be fair, provide information on the odds of wining and there should be provisions in place to protect vulnerable groups, such as, children. In the development of these guidelines by different countries or states there has been no real consideration of the need to engage with different indigenous and ethnic populations to ensure that they are protected as vulnerable populations. Further there is a need to engage with these populations within countries and across countries to ensure that indigenous and ethnic minority cultural icons, values, religious practices and music are not used without their permission or exploited in the business of promoting and marketing different forms of gambling products. New Zealand’s experience of marketing and advertising of gambling is discussed in this paper. It is outlined the development of casinos in New Zealand and how Maori were actively encouraged to participate in the opening of these establishments and therefore, legitimate their existence as a safe place for Maori, the indigenous population of New Zealand to frequent on a regular basis. Since then other ethnic minority populations have been targeted to engage in different forms of gambling by recognising their significant cultural events, importance of family events and celebrating and promoting the success of important sport role models. Gambling advertising can be direct or subtle, however, little research has focussed on the third person effect associated with gambling advertising. New Zealand has adopted a public health approach to reduce gambling related harm. One of the key strategies introduced to reduce gambling related harm has been the development and implementation of harm minimisation regulations. Research conducted in New Zealand regarding individuals’ attitudes and behaviour to gambling, highlights that Maori have a high recall of gambling advertisements alongside other ethnic populations. The paper suggests that as part of a public health approach to reduce gambling related harm that it is now timely in New Zealand, for consideration to be given as to how much exposure, if any, New Zealanders should be subjected to gambling advertising.