Bread, milk and a Tattslotto ticket: the interpretive repertoires of young adult gambling in Australia

Abstract

The discourse of Australian young adults who gamble regularly was analysed to explore key dilemmas and challenges of a generation who grew up with the positive and negative impacts of gambling advertisements. Qualitative interviews of seven young recreational gamblers who regularly frequent gaming machine venues were conducted. The discourse that they used to describe their gambling involvement, motivation, development and subjective views were analysed and three central repertoires: ‘Culture not self,’ ‘If it makes you happy,’ and ‘No problem here!’ were identified. The current findings demonstrate the participants’ attempts to understand and legitimise their gambling. Further, it was suggested that young adults face a series of dilemmas when deciding whether to gamble and to what extent they gamble. Their discourse highlights the tension between individual agency, societal expectations and familial influence. The respondents primarily gambled for social reasons in a manner which they perceived as culturally acceptable. The importance of harm minimization and public awareness campaigns directed at young adults was also discussed.

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