Advertising the “New Fun-Tier”: Selling casinos to consumers


There is an absence of research on the commercial advertising of gambling as it relates to casinos. This study examines print, radio, television and point of sale casino ads that aired in Canada. Using quantitative and qualitative methods we analyze a convenience sample of 367 ads that aired or were printed in 2005 and 2006. Our findings indicate that these ads target audiences along age, gender and ethnic lines and mobilize excitement and sex as persuasive techniques to promote the view that casino gambling is the "new fun-tier" of the entertainment industry where visiting a casino is as normal as going to a movie and where winning, glitz and gracious living prevail over losing, work and everyday life. We conclude that casino advertising evinces troubling similarities with some of the factors that research has shown contributes to at-risk gambling: the association between spatial segregation, stepping out of real life and the development of dissociated states; between excitement, sensation seeking and the potential to develop vertigo and disorientation and between the entertainment of the games, the devaluation of money and the propensity to chase loses.

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