An Empirical Study Examining the Impact of Gambling Advertisements on Adolescent Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors

Abstract

Based upon a previous qualitative study a questionnaire ascertaining adolescents’ awareness of gambling advertisements and their impact upon their behavior was developed and administered to 1,147 youth between the ages of 12 and 19. The findings suggest that almost all youth report being exposed to advertising with many individuals indicating being bombarded with messages, especially through pop-up ads viewed on the Internet. Sixty-one percent of youth reported receiving spam gambling advertisements by e-mail and 96% had seen TV advertisements for gambling. The underlying perceived message is that winning is easy, the chance of winning is high and that gambling is an easy way to become wealthy. While most youth are dismissive of the messages and are aware of the risks associated with gambling, a large percentage of youth report that these messages prompt them to gamble. Rather than inciting non-gamblers to begin gambling, advertisements appear to serve the function of maintaining established gambling habits and were particularly problematic to youth with gambling problems. Gender and developmental trends were noted.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey Derevensky.

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This research was supported by a grant from the Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture, Ministry of Health and Social Services, Quebec

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Derevensky, J., Sklar, A., Gupta, R. et al. An Empirical Study Examining the Impact of Gambling Advertisements on Adolescent Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors. Int J Ment Health Addiction 8, 21–34 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-009-9211-7

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Keywords

  • Youth
  • Gambling
  • Advertising
  • Pathological gambling