Corporate Political Activity of the Alcohol and Gambling Industries
A new study by the Institute of Alcohol Studies shows that the alcohol and gambling industries use the same arguments and framings to shape the narrative around the harms caused by their products, and the solutions to those harms.
The study analysed alcohol and gambling industry responses to two House of Lords inquiries, which were gathering information about successes and failures of the Alcohol and Gambling Acts.
The responses were analysed for framing of arguments and strategies used by each industry, and these were compared by: how the problems were framed, and solutions to the problems
Results: both industries used the same framing of the problem of alcohol and gambling harms and their solutions:
- Both emphasised that harm was only experienced by a minority of people, with the majority drinking and gambling ‘responsibly’
- Emphasis on ‘individual responsibility’
- Some deflected harm onto other industry actors (e.g. from on-shore gambling operators to online operators)
- This led to promoting localised or targeted solutions, as opposed to effective population level solutions
The study supports calls to move away from framing the problem of alcohol and gambling harms as one of ‘individual responsibility’, experienced by only a minority. These findings highlight the importance of policy makers being aware of these strategies to avoid undue industry influence on policy decisions.