The use of social media in research on gambling: a systematic review

Richard J. E. James, Alex Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose of Review: Social media enables a range of possibilities in the way gamblers and gambling operators interact and content communicate with gambling. The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesise the extant literature to identify the ways in which social media has been investigated in the context of gambling.

Recent Findings: A systematic review of the literature identified 41 papers that collected primary data pertinent to gambling and social media from multiple disciplines. These papers broadly fell into three themes: communication, community and calculation (of sentiment). Papers on communication focused on the content of gambling advertising on social media and the impact on people exposed to it. Studies of gambling communities studied the activity and structures of discussion groups on social media concerning recreational or problematic gambling. Papers on calculation collated social media data to assess sentiment and compared it against betting odds.

Summary: There is an emerging multidisciplinary literature that has looked at the use of social media in relation to gambling. There is preliminary evidence that the content and the reach of gambling advertising on social media is a source of concern, particularly for younger people. The themes discussed on gambling support forums appear to be common across communities, focusing on negative emotions, recovery, addictive products and financial support. Using social media to assess sentiment appears to be particularly effective at identifying potential upsets in sporting matches. Future suggestions for research are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Early online date11 May 2021
Publication statusEarly online - 11 May 2021


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