The growth of sports betting in Malawi: corporate strategies, public space and public health

Bunn, C. , Mtema, O., Songo, J. and Udedi, M. (2020) The growth of sports betting in Malawi: corporate strategies, public space and public health. Public Health, 184, pp. 95-101. (doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.03.022) (PMID:32466981)

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Objectives: Gambling is increasingly positioned as a public health issue, with links to a wide range of harms for individuals, communities and societies. Malawi has experienced a rapid rise in the availability of high street and online sports betting services, situated in a context of extreme inequality and poverty. We aim to document the strategies through which a leading sports betting firm have established a market worth MK2.1bn, to inform future initiatives to mitigate gambling-related harm. Study design: A case study of strategies deployed by a leading firm to grow a sports betting market in Malawi. Methods: We undertook a qualitative media analysis of articles from six major Malawian news outlets and combined this with photographic evidence relating to company advertising and presence in Malawian public space. Data were analysed thematically and triangulated to generate a typology of corporate strategies. Results: We collected 39 articles and 15 photographs. After we screened the articles, we analysed 27 and identified seven corporate strategies: adopt a mobile network franchise model; use media coverage; purchase high-visibility advertising; sponsor locally; build association with (European) football; appeal to aspects of hegemonic masculinity; construct narratives of individual and collective benefit. Conclusion: Malawi has been exposed to a sophisticated set of corporate strategies aimed at growing a sports betting market. These strategies have been successful, and it is likely that a range of foreseeable gambling-related harms are affecting Malawi. We offer suggestions for how policy-makers and public health professionals might respond.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bunn, Dr Christopher
Authors: Bunn, C., Mtema, O., Songo, J., and Udedi, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Public Health
ISSN (Online):1476-5616
Published Online:25 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Royal Society for Public Health
First Published:First published in Public Health 184: 95-101
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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