Published in the journal Public Health, the findings found evidence of a dose-response effect, with greater advertising exposure increasing gambling participation, which leads to a greater risk of gambling harm. The research also found that those most vulnerable are more likely to be influenced.
Eight recent reviews were analysed, which included data from more than 70 research papers, with a variety of research methods used to investigate the relationship between advertising and gambling. Gambling-related harms, as noted by the University of Sheffield, involve issues such as debt, relationship problems, physical and mental health problems and crime.
“Gambling-related harms represent a significant potential driver of health inequalities, because those already experiencing financial, social and mental health disadvantage are also at increased risk of experiencing gambling-related harm,” said Professor Liddy Goyder, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research.
“And those already at risk of harm from their gambling have consistently been shown to be more likely to be prompted to gambling by exposure to advertising.
“The substantial evidence we found in all the recent reviews of evidence in this field supports the use of restriction to reduce exposure to gambling advertising. This is particularly likely to reduce risk of harm to children and young people and adults who are already vulnerable to gambling-related harms.”
The research follows new data from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) earlier this week, which showed that the number of UK bettors visiting unregulated online black market gambling sites tripled during the 2022 World Cup.
The cases put forward by the University of Sheffield and the BGC for and against regulation respectively come as the UK Government prepares to publish its gambling white paper, with the industry set for a major shake-up.