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Social responsibility disclosure in the international gambling industry: a research note

Tiffany Cheng Han Leung (School of Professional Education and Executive Development, College of Professional & Continuing Education, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)
Rob Gray (School of Management, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 2049-372X

Article publication date: 11 April 2016




This paper aims to explore the extent to which social responsibility and social and environmental reporting and disclosure have any relevance in the (so-called) controversial industries. The literature is ambivalent over the extent to which it is expected to see corporate social responsibility and social disclosure employed as active legitimation strategies. However, the apparent importance of “responsible gambling” in both the literature and in gambling industry initiatives suggests, at least a priori, that the international industry is active in some degree of legitimation.


This exploratory study examines the social and environmental disclosures of a sample of large companies in each of five countries over a three-year period using conventional content analysis.


The results are unexpected in that, although disclosure is dominated by employee- and director-related, other areas of social and environmental – and indeed economic – activity feature hardly at all. There is remarkably little disclosure around responsible gambling.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is a research note based on a range of samples across five countries and is, inevitably, tentative. The implications, albeit tentative, include the need to re-theorise corporate disclosure, especially in the controversial sectors.


The note adds to the accounting literature concerned with the controversial industries and contributes to the scarce social accounting research in the gambling sector. The authors hope that the research will be useful in guiding more focused and in-depth studies into this increasingly important and counter-intuitive area.



The authors would like to acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions from participants at the 2012 BAFA Scottish Accounting Group Conference (University of Strathclyde), the 2012 CSEAR Conference (University of St Andrews), colleagues at RMIT University (especially Rob Inglis), from Sue Gray and the comments and suggestions of reviewers on earlier versions of this paper.


Leung, T.C.H. and Gray, R. (2016), "Social responsibility disclosure in the international gambling industry: a research note", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 73-90.



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