Teens not able to side-step associations between sport and gambling

Published:10 April 2018

Dr En Li, a researcher from CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory.

Researchers now have firmer evidence that Aussie teenagers have formed an association between gambling and sport in their mind.

This suggests they may have insufficient protection against future gambling harm, given the aggressive marketing of gambling brands and products through sports.

That’s according to a fresh study by CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, published in Springer’s Journal of Gambling Studies.

Study lead Dr En Li says the gambling attitudes and advertising knowledge of youths are both valid predictors of their future gambling intention.

“Whilst further research is needed to determine at what age this implicit association is emerging, and longitudinal research is needed to determine whether future intention becomes behaviour, the present study is consistent with previous findings on other addictive products such as tobacco and alcohol,” Dr Li says.

“The growing body of evidence regarding the impacts of gambling marketing in sport, suggests that industry self-regulation and guidelines such as those implemented in Australia are insufficient to protect youth from future gambling harm.”

Dr Li says the latest study examined whether an implicit association existed between gambling and sport among underage youth in Australia, and whether this implicit association could shape their explicit intention to gamble.

A sample of Australian participants (aged 14 to 17) completed two phases of tasks, including an implicit association test based online experiment, and a post-experiment online survey.

The results supported the existence of an implicit association between gambling and sport among the participants.

This implicit association became stronger when they saw gambling logos relevant to sport (versus sport-irrelevant gambling logos) or sport names relevant to gambling (versus gambling-irrelevant sport names).

“In addition, this implicit association was positively related to the amount of sport viewing, but only among those participants who had more favourable gambling attitudes,” Dr Li says.

“Lastly, gambling attitudes and advertising knowledge, rather than the implicit association, turned out to be significant predictors of the explicit intention to gamble.”

Dr Li’s co-authors for the study (Gambling and Sport: Implicit Association and Explicit Intention Among Underage Youth) included Professor Matthew Rockloff, Associate Professor Matthew Browne, Erika Langham and Hannah Thorne.