Controlling the illusion of control: a grounded theory of sports betting advertising in the UK

Lopez-Gonzalez, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-1249-2623, Estévez, A. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2018. Controlling the illusion of control: a grounded theory of sports betting advertising in the UK. International Gambling Studies, 18, pp. 39-55. ISSN 1445-9795

9229_Griffiths.pdf - Post-print

Download (247kB) | Preview


Sports betting (SB) advertising has arguably permeated contemporary sport consumption in many countries. SB adverts build narratives that represent situations and characters that normalise betting behaviour, and raise public concerns regarding their detrimental effect on vulnerable groups. Adopting a grounded theory approach, the present study examined a British sample of SB adverts (N=102) from 2014 to 2016. The analysis revealed that individual themes aligned in a single core narrative, constructing a dual persuasive strategy of SB advertising: (i) to reduce the perceived risk involved in betting (with themes such as betting with betting with friends, free money offers, humour, or the use of celebrities) while (ii) enhancing the perceived control of bettors (including themes of masculinity, and sport knowledge). Also, new technological features of SB platforms (e.g. live betting or cash outs) were used by adverts to build a narrative in which the ability to predict a sport outcome was overlapped by the ability of bettors to use those platforms, equalising the ease of betting with the ease of winning. Based on the data analysed, it is concluded that the construction of a magnified idea of control in SB advertising is a cause for concern requiring close regulatory scrutiny.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Gambling Studies
Creators: Lopez-Gonzalez, H., Estévez, A. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2018
Volume: 18
ISSN: 1445-9795
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 03 Oct 2017 08:23
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 08:57

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year