Limited research has evaluated the psychological effect of sports-betting advertising (such as embedded promotion) upon consumers considered ‘higher-risk’. Students are often considered a higher-risk group given the numerous gambling-related risk factors associated with their lifestyle. Furthermore, students studying sports-related subjects may possess a bespoke vulnerability to sports-betting risk, due to contextual factors such as (mis)perceptions regarding advantages of sports-related knowledge. The pilot study investigated whether exposure to embedded gambling promotions during televised football, elicits urges to gamble amongst students, and whether the severity of reported gambling varies between those who study sports-related and non-sports subjects. An experimental methodology was employed. Sixty students from the University of South Wales were shown one of three videos: (a) televised football match highlights containing a high density of embedded promotion; (b) amateur football match highlights containing no gambling-related cues or embedded promotion; (c) a neutral control video containing footage of a live concert. Urge to gamble and risk of gambling problems were measured following video exposure. Sports-students reported significantly higher risk of gambling problem scores than non-sports students. Correspondingly, sport-students who were exposed to embedded gambling promotion reported significantly higher urges to gamble compared to all other conditions. This effect was also observed amongst sports-students who were exposed to an amateur match containing no gambling-related material. These findings provide evidence for the cue-induced urge effect of sports-embedded gambling promotion, amongst vulnerable audiences. Public health interventions and harm reduction strategies should look to counteract these pervasive forms of gambling advertising.
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Roderique-Davies, G., Torrance, J., Bhairon, T. et al. Embedded Gambling Promotion in Football: An Explorative Study of Cue-Exposure and Urge to Gamble. J Gambl Stud 36, 1013–1025 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-020-09949-y