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Third-person perceptions of gambling sponsorship advertising

Margaret A. Johnston (UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Luc R. Bourgeois (School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 9 November 2015



The purpose of this paper is to examine perceptual and behavioural components of the third-person effect for sport sponsorship marketing communications by legalised gambling companies. Specifically, this research examines judgements about the perceived influence of gambling sponsorship on self, children, and other adults. It also investigates behavioural reactions towards the censorship of gambling sponsorship, and intentions to gamble with sponsors.


An online survey was fielded to a commercial consumer database and yielded 511 usable responses. Four hypotheses were tested to examine perceptions of the effects of gambling sponsorship on self and on others, and whether perceived differences in self/other effects influenced pro-censorship behaviours and gambling intentions.


Findings reveal a range of responses to sport sponsorship by gambling companies. Some individuals view gambling sponsorship positively, they are anti-censorship, and happy to bet with sponsors. Others, who bet on sports, but have no particular allegiance to gambling sponsors, appear highly protective of children, and endorse censorship.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused on the perceived impact of gambling sponsorship on other adults and on children. Future research may consider targeting more specific groups such as other sports fans, others engaged in online sports betting, or primary/secondary school age children.


This study provides new insights on sponsorship effects, specifically public perceptions of gambling sponsorship advertising and their associated behavioural consequences.



This research was funded by a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship awarded to the first author. The authors would like to thank the organisers of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Conference “Managing Sport” track and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on this paper.


Johnston, M.A. and Bourgeois, L.R. (2015), "Third-person perceptions of gambling sponsorship advertising", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 5 No. 5, pp. 413-434.



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