Deakin University

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The role of peer influences on the normalisation of sports wagering: a qualitative study of Australian men

journal contribution
posted on 2017-03-04, 00:00 authored by Emily Deans, Samantha ThomasSamantha Thomas, M Daube, J Derevensky
Sports wagering has been identified as a gambling product which may pose particular risks for young men,
because of the aggressive marketing tactics used to promote these products, and the alignment
with culturally valued sporting activities. However, there is very limited information about the sociocultural
processes that may contribute to the normalisation of sports wagering for this population.
Using semi-structured interviews with 50 Australian young men who gambled on sport, we explored
the way in which peer group behaviours influenced attitudes towards, and the consumption of,
gambling products. Four thematic clusters emerged from the interviews. First, young men perceived
that sports wagering was a ‘normal’ and socially accepted activity, and a natural ‘add on’ to sports.
Second, there were clear indicators that sports wagering was becoming embedded within existing
peer based sporting rituals, with the emergence of gambling clubs, and online forums. The third
finding related to the shaping of gambling/sport discussions, which created a sense of identity and
a point of conversation for peers. Finally, some participants spoke of the social pressure to gamble
to ‘fit in’ with their friends. This study suggests that sports wagering poses a new health threat for
young men, with sports wagering quickly being normalised as an embedded activity in young male
sports fans' peer groups. There are clear lessons from the Australian experience for other countries,
relating to the ways in which industry marketing tactics may combine with culturally valued activities
such as sport, to influence risky gambling behaviours.



Addiction research and theory






103 - 113


Taylor & Francis


Abingdon, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Informa UK