High Stakes: Children’s Exposure to Gambling and Gambling Marketing Using Wearable Cameras

Abstract

Concerns continue to be raised about the ‘normalising’ influence of gambling and its marketing on children. This study sought to determine the nature and extent of children’s everyday exposure to gambling and its marketing. New Zealand children (11–13 years; n = 167) wore wearable cameras, capturing images of their day every seven seconds for four days, June 2014–July 2015. Images (n = 380,000) were assessed for their exposure to gambling and its marketing. On average, children were exposed to gambling products or activities 0.6 (95% CI 0.4, 1.0) times/day and marketing 6.9 (95% CI 4.6, 10.3) times/day. Marketing exposures occurred most frequently in book stores (1.7 (95% CI 0.7, 4.0)/day), convenience stores (1.5 (95% CI 0.7, 3.0)/day), and supermarkets (1.4 (95% CI 0.8, 2.5)/day), via a shop front signage (3.3 (95% CI 1.9, 5.5)/day) and in-store marketing (1.9 (95% CI 1.3, 2.7)/day). The national lottery (4.7 (95% CI 3.2, 7.0)/day) and scratch cards (0.6 (95% CI 0.4, 0.9)/day) were most frequently promoted. Children were frequently exposed to gambling and its marketing, in the everyday places they go. Regulation of gambling and its marketing could contribute to the reduction of gambling-related harm, improving children’s health, and well-being.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Publicly funded NZ schools are rated according to the average family backgrounds of students. Decile 1 rating indicates that the largest proportion of children are from low socioeconomic backgrounds, whereas decile 10 indicates that the largest proportion of students are from high socioeconomic backgrounds. http://www.education.govt.nz/school/runninga-school/resourcing/operational-funding/school-decileratings/.

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Correspondence to Moira Smith.

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All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (13/220). Due to the broad focus of the research, participants were blinded to the focus of the study. School approval, child assent and parental consent were acquired in writing from participating schools, children and their parents.

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Smith, M., Chambers, T., Abbott, M. et al. High Stakes: Children’s Exposure to Gambling and Gambling Marketing Using Wearable Cameras. Int J Ment Health Addiction 18, 1025–1047 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00103-3

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Keywords

  • Wearable cameras
  • Gambling
  • Gambling marketing
  • Children