Corporate social responsibility and gambling industry : an exploratory study


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one important response to the increasing amounts of criticism levelled at corporations. A number of studies have focused on CSR in a range of industries; however, some contentious industries, e.g. the gambling industry, remain unexplored. Mobilizing CSR in a novel setting not only enhances the knowledge of CSR and gambling, but also provides an overview of this industry itself. This thesis attempts to investigate three questions: to what extent does the gambling industry disclose CSR-related data, how is CSR understood in this industry and why does the gambling industry engage in CSR? This thesis provides a general overview of the international gambling industry and an in-depth investigation of Macao’s gambling industry. The research design of the thesis employs mixed methods: content analysis and semi-structured interviews. The principal research is based on 49 interviews. This thesis advances three main arguments. First, it will be argued that there are relatively low volumes of Corporate Social Disclosure (CSD) and Responsible Gambling (RG) disclosure in the international gambling industry, which can be viewed as a legitimising strategy. Second, in Macao’s gambling industry, it is argued that organisations in this industry tend to place a greater emphasis on positive social impacts, while obscuring such negative impacts as gambling addiction and health-related issues. Third, this thesis holds that organisations in Macao’s gambling industry engage symbolically, rather than substantively, with CSR and RG in order to manage stakeholders’ perceptions in an attempt to gain different sources of legitimacy and in turn to enhance its economic interests. In conclusion, the gambling industry does not entirely conform to the institutional environment, which poses a challenge to the organisational legitimacy literature. This thesis introduces a necessary caution into the discussions about the extent of CSD, CSR, and RG in this industry more generally

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This paper was published in St Andrews Research Repository.

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