Reforming the gambling sector

Anthropology research at Goldsmiths has driven changes to government policy and industry practice on gambling.

Professor Rebecca Cassidy has spent two decades researching the commercial gambling sector. Her work has helped parliamentarians to think differently about gambling and informed public debates in the UK and beyond.

Exposing problems in gambling research

Supported by a grant from the European Research Council, Cassidy worked with a team of academics to explore the ethics and politics of global gambling research.

The resulting Fair Game policy report co-authored by Professor Cassidy concluded that gambling research lacked independence, often reliant on financial support from the gambling industry.

Fair Game prompted the journal International Gambling Studies to introduce a disclosure policy for its contributors.

Working with policymakers

Professor Cassidy has worked closely with parliamentarians on gambling policy, as policymakers have begun to recognise the public health risk posed by gambling.

Cassidy's research was used in a House of Commons briefing paper about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. The Conservative government went on to cut the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2 in 2018.

Professor Cassidy has advised a range of parliamentary groups, charities and government committees, including the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry.

Shining a light on sports advertising

Professor Cassidy co-authored the first piece of research on gambling advertising during UK sports broadcasts.

The study looked at the frequency and duration of instances of gambling advertising during three live football matches on Sky television and in three episodes of Match of the Day.

It found that gambling advertisements occurred more frequently than those for alcohol or food. The volume, duration and frequency of adverts were higher than in Australia before the Australian government introduced a ban.

Professor Cassidy went on to lead field work assessing the impact of gambling advertising on children and young people.

The research was quoted extensively in House of Lords debates and the Labour Party used it to call for a levy to fund research and a ban on gambling logos on football shirts.

Sky began to limit gambling adverts in their commercial breaks, and some football clubs released replica shirts for children without logos of gambling sponsors.