The gambling market on the island of Ireland is characterised by three unique features. The first of these features are significantly high percentages of problem gamblers in both Ireland (0.8%) and in Northern Ireland (2.3%), with young men particularly susceptible. Second, in terms of regulations, gambling is a devolved matter for the Stormont Executive in Northern Ireland with the most recent regulation dated from 1985 (preceding the internet), while in Ireland the current regulation dates from the 1950s and is wholly inadequate to deal with the current technological and media context. Third, in terms of sport broadcasting, both Ireland and Northern Ireland have a shared media market for major sporting events distributed by transnational broadcasters and cross promoted on social media.
This project will examine how gambling companies’ market through sport to young people on the island of Ireland. The research team at UU (Kitchin + PDRA) will firstly explore the extent of exposure to gambling marketing through sport, and their attitudes towards it through focus groups with young people on both sides of the border. Secondly, the research them at MU (Kerr, O’Brennan + PDRA) will identify how gambling operators market their services through sport to young people by conducting content analysis of traditional media and social media marketing around major sporting events. These combined results to co-create educational resources targeted to this age group and pilot them in workshops with the two charity partners. Finally, we will inform the regulatory landscape on both sides of the border by producing policy briefs and making evidence-based submissions to the relevant ongoing public consultations.