Frequent gamblers' perceptions of the role of gambling marketing in their behaviour: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

PLoS One. 2023 Jun 16;18(6):e0287393. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287393. eCollection 2023.


This study explored how frequent gamblers perceive gambling marketing and the role they feel it has in their gambling behaviour. Ten frequent gamblers participated in semi-structured interviews oriented around their experiences of gambling marketing. An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the data led to three overarching themes: exploiting gambling marketing for personal gain; gambling marketing as a test of self-control; and safer gambling messages marketing perceived as ineffective. These themes encapsulated participants' views of gambling marketing as something they could take advantage of to increase their own gambling success. Marketing was also perceived as a test of self-control among self-identified experienced gamblers, although identified as a risk to those who are considered more vulnerable. Finally, safer gambling messages included within marketing was considered ineffective due to perceived insincerity and being seen as an 'afterthought' by marketers. In support of previous research, the current investigation highlights concerning narratives around self-control and perceived risk, as encapsulated within gambling marketing, and these are evident in the perceptions of frequent gamblers. Given gamblers' perceived lack of effectiveness of current safer gambling messages within marketing, future research should explore new avenues for safer gambling promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Emotions
  • Gambling*
  • Humans
  • Marketing

Grants and funding

The study was carried out as a part of the lead authors’ (SH) PhD studies. The PhD was funded by GambleAware ( The funder played no role in the design, data collection, data analysis, decision to publish or the preparation of the manuscript.