Over the past decades the progressive legalisation of gambling has generated a global and ever-expanding industry able to influence state policy in many countries. The transformation of gambling into a mainstream leisure activity goes along with the ‘colonization’ of the social imaginary by images and symbols related to hazardous products, which are at the same time promoted through advertisements and sold in ubiquitous and easily accessible shops. This expansion has resulted in an animated debate between both advocates and opponents of gambling harm. Among the for- mer are concessionaires and trade associations, while the latter often include both lay and religious not-for-profit associations whose aim is to protect citizens from risks such as gambling addiction, usury and racketeering. The literature, which largely adopts medical and psychological approaches, has paid relatively little atten- tion to the role of advertising in creating a ‘landscape’ that normalizes the presence of gambling in everyday life and destigmatises gamblers. In this chapter, I analyse a corpus of 369 commercials that appeared in Italy in two periods, 2010 and 2012–2013, and that were promoted by major gambling concessionaires. Relying on a socio- semiotic approach, I identify the main representations that the commercials contain and the risks related to such representations of gambling. My argument is developed against the background of analysis of Italian legal gambling as a social field where a struggle among the state, concessionaires, the media and the opponents of gam- bling is fought. The chapter shows that commercial advertising works as a means to dampen the tone of the struggle because, to be perceived as responsible players, concessionaires cynically accept some restrictions on their communication. This, ap- parently, weak approach contributes to mystifying the real processes taking place in this social field, especially the neoliberal transformation of the state from an agent in charge of protecting citizens into a weakened market regulator that gives ‘chances’ to consumers.

'Let Me Dream with the Betting Sheet in my Hand’: Gambling Advertising Narratives and the Destigmatisation of Gamblers

Pedroni, M.
2018

Abstract

Over the past decades the progressive legalisation of gambling has generated a global and ever-expanding industry able to influence state policy in many countries. The transformation of gambling into a mainstream leisure activity goes along with the ‘colonization’ of the social imaginary by images and symbols related to hazardous products, which are at the same time promoted through advertisements and sold in ubiquitous and easily accessible shops. This expansion has resulted in an animated debate between both advocates and opponents of gambling harm. Among the for- mer are concessionaires and trade associations, while the latter often include both lay and religious not-for-profit associations whose aim is to protect citizens from risks such as gambling addiction, usury and racketeering. The literature, which largely adopts medical and psychological approaches, has paid relatively little atten- tion to the role of advertising in creating a ‘landscape’ that normalizes the presence of gambling in everyday life and destigmatises gamblers. In this chapter, I analyse a corpus of 369 commercials that appeared in Italy in two periods, 2010 and 2012–2013, and that were promoted by major gambling concessionaires. Relying on a socio- semiotic approach, I identify the main representations that the commercials contain and the risks related to such representations of gambling. My argument is developed against the background of analysis of Italian legal gambling as a social field where a struggle among the state, concessionaires, the media and the opponents of gam- bling is fought. The chapter shows that commercial advertising works as a means to dampen the tone of the struggle because, to be perceived as responsible players, concessionaires cynically accept some restrictions on their communication. This, ap- parently, weak approach contributes to mystifying the real processes taking place in this social field, especially the neoliberal transformation of the state from an agent in charge of protecting citizens into a weakened market regulator that gives ‘chances’ to consumers.
9789004371255
Gambling advertising; Legal gambling; Neoliberalism; Pierre Bourdieu
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2436618
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