Transparency, communication and the influence of the gambling industry on public administrations and civil society.

2020 – Current

David Pere Martínez Oró and Guillem Palà Nosàs

Keywords: transparency, sports betting, private gambling, public administration, civil society.

Funding: Área metropolitana de Barcelona

Private gambling industry is a non-transparent interest group that has traditionally exerted pressure on administrations to obtain a favorable regulatory framework. It has exerted pressures as well on civil society to encourage it to gamble. In addition, there are different indications that pressure may have increased recently, since:

  • Different countries have started to regulate the random components present in video games consumed by underage people. The argumentation in this vein is that they contribute to lay the foundations to capture future profiles with compulsive gambling problems.
  • The approval of Royal Decree 958/2020, of November 3, which regulates the Commercial Communications of Gaming Activities, was received with ferocity by gaming operators.
  • Gaming operators have redefined their «corporate social responsibility», sometimes weaving alliances with civil society associations. It remains to be known in what sense it is oriented to mitigate the damages caused by gambling or if it is used to whitewash and muffle critical voices against the sector.

The program «Transparency, communication and influence of the gambling industry on public administrations and civil society» aims to gain an in-depth knowledge of the gambling industry’s lobbying actions aimed at public administrations and civil society. The goal is to provide a multifaceted perspective on the issue and propose strategic recommendations to make the gambling industry more transparent.

The methodology to respond to this general objective will be qualitative. Three techniques will be applied:

  • Documentary analysis.
  • Virtual ethnography.
  • Individual interviews with key agents such as: representatives of the public administration, professionals of the gambling sector and boards directors of affected associations.