Post print of: Gainsbury, SM, King, DL, Hing, N & Delfabbro, P 2015, 'Social media marketing and gambling: an interview study of gambling operators in Australia', International Gambling Studies, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 377-393.
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Social media has become an established tool to engage and maintain customer loyalty. However, its successful use involves a balance between promotion, public relations and corporate social responsibility. Nineteen individuals working in the Australian gambling industry were interviewed. The aim was to explore how gambling operators are using social media to engage with users and promote products, their considerations underpinning these actions, and the extent to which responsible gambling practices are included. All operators were active on social media and used these platforms to attempt to increase customer engagement and strengthen existing relationships. Gambling-related content was usually balanced against non-gambling content, or operators focused exclusively on non-gambling content. Sales goals or raising revenue were not direct aims of social media use. Operators sought to use social media as an indirect way to maintain their customer base and attract new customers via favourable ratings and information transfer. Few operators provided specific responsible gambling messages, despite being mindful of the dangers of targeting vulnerable populations, specifically young people and problem gamblers. This study is unique as it provides an in-depth first-hand account of how gambling operators are using social media.