Beneficiaries of gambling and moral disengagement

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Gambling is used to raise public funds through taxes, fees and direct contributions. The rent generated can be distributed through two basic models: absorbing the surplus into state budgets and institutions, or channeling funds to civil society organizations (CSOs). However, gambling also causes negative externalities. The purpose of this paper is to focus on how the beneficiaries of gambling in two societies representing these opposite models respond to the moral issue of accepting funds from a source that causes harm to some.

The analysis is conducted by applying the moral disengagement (MD) model to qualitative interviews conducted with beneficiaries of gambling in Finland and France. In Finland, the majority of gambling revenue is redistributed to CSOs, who also exercise a strong influence and are heavily involved in the system. In France, most gambling proceeds are directed to the central state, making other beneficiaries less powerful.

The results of this paper show that in France, where the state is a strong beneficiary, other actors express more political awareness and debate than in the Finnish model in which CSOs benefit and are tightly implicated in the system. On the other hand, the involvement of Finnish actors in the system encouraged them to accept moral responsibility for the harm caused by gambling.

The paper provides policymakers information on beneficiaries’ implication and position in different types of models of dividing the rent of gambling, and the academic audience with a comparative and sociological application of the MD model.
TidskriftInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Sidor (från-till)578-591
Antal sidor14
StatusPublicerad - 2018
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 5141 Sociologi

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