Gambling, Citizens, Industry and the Government: A Review of the Gambling Literature

By June Buchanan and Gregory Elliott.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Scholarly research into gambling did not formally begin until 1974, with the First Annual Conference on Gambling being held in Las Vegas. Since then, a plethora of academic research has been published, most of it focusing on problem gambling, be it relating to its behavioural causes, the mechanisms of EGMs and their relation to problem gambling, and/or gambling and its consequences. In 1997 however, Shaffer called for a greater adherence to rigorous scientific standards than is typical in much of the gambling research literature to date. Against the background of the moral and public policy issues surrounding gambling, strong adherence to either a pro- or anti-gambling view renders the objectivity tenet of scientific discourse virtually irrelevant. McGowan (1997) is also critical of a researcher’s ideological stance being brought into play, as he considers that it inevitably prevents the conducting of mature, high-quality gambling research, a point reinforced by McMillan (2009). The ‘anti’ gambling group is classified under the ‘Ethics of Sacrifice’ and the ‘pro’ group under the ‘Ethics of Tolerance’ (McGowan 1997). Like Shaffer (1997), McGowan argues that a middle (objective) road should be taken in gambling research. The majority of gambling academic literature focuses on problem/pathological gambling, thus ignoring the reality that, for the majority of its adherents, gambling is an act of free choice with minimal harmful consequences. In the U.S., the emphasis on problem gambling has been to view it as a medical disorder whereas in Australia it is viewed in terms of the social harm caused not only to the problem gambler but to the additional 5-10 people who are also affected by the gambler’s addiction (Productivity Commission 1999, p. 21). This paper discusses the interdisciplinary gambling literature.

Keywords: Gambling, Problem Gambling, Social Issues Relating to Gambling, EGMs, Gambling and Public Policy, Social Contract Theory, Entrapment Theory, Legitimacy

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 11, pp.215-226. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 654.593KB).

Ms June Buchanan

Marketing Academic, Department of Business , Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

June Buchanan has been teaching in the marketing area for the past 18 years. She has had a number of conference papers and also journal articles published. Her research interests include corporate social responsibility, the marketing of legal but potentially harmful products and the gaming industry. Prior to completing her Honours degree in marketing, she spent many years working in the corporate world. She is nearing completion of her PhD dissertation, which includes researching a number of different disciplines in addition to marketing, such as corporate social responsibility, critical discourse analysis and public policy.

Prof. Gregory Elliott

Associate Dean (International); Professor of Business (Marketing), Department of Business, , Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Gregory Elliott is Professor Marketing in the Department of Business at Macquarie University Sydney Australia, where he researches in the fields of financial services marketing, cross-cultural marketing, social and societal marketing. He also travels extensively in his role as Associate Dean (International) for the Faculty of Business and Economics.


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