In this paper the authors present and debate the theoretical case for the use of social marketing to help reduce problem gambling in the public health context of the UK. Is triangulated between the key theories and principles of social marketing, the key literature and its theoretical application to the debate about reducing problem gambling in the UK. The distinctions between social marketing and health education are outlined. Exchange theory, relationship marketing, and consumer focus and insight are vital to work with the public health implications of problem gambling. Social marketing may have something to offer problem gamblers, professionals in public health and policymakers. However, the self interest of the problem gambler should strongly guide intervention programmes. Such programmes should be designed with the ideal of building relationships such that long term behaviour change is effected.