Can Advertising Increase Awareness of Problem Gambling? A Statewide Survey of Impact

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With the rapid rise of state-sponsored gambling during the 1990s, the number of problem gamblers increased as well. In this study, 800 Indiana adult residents were randomly surveyed to evaluate the impact of a statewide advertising campaign designed to increase awareness of problem gambling. The pre- to postcampaign telephone survey (with 400 independent respondents at each time point) targeted (a) the impact of the advertising campaign and (b) general awareness of problem gambling issues. Results indicated, overall, little impact of the ad campaign and a low rate of exposure to it (8%). Billboards and slogans appeared to be the methods with strongest impact. The sample had a positive view of problem gambling awareness campaigns and appeared quite knowledgeable about problem gambling in general. Awareness of state resources to aid problem gamblers was lower. Results are discussed in relation to the study methodology, and suggestions to improve future advertising efforts are offered.

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