Social Representations of Responsibility in Gambling among Young Adult Gamblers: Control Yourself, Know the Rules, do not become Addicted, and Enjoy the Game...


  • Annie-Claude Savard Laval University
  • Mélina Bouffard Laval University
  • Jean-Philippe Laforge Concordia University
  • Sylvia Kairouz Concordia University



responsibility, gambling, social representations, young adults, neoliberalism


The responsible gambling approach is the subject of significant debate in the scientific community due to its tendency to individualize responsibility, focusing heavily on the gambler’s responsibility for gambling-related harm. Despite the gambler, and their responsibility, being the focus of responsible gambling discourse, their voices and perspectives remain largely absent. This study aims to address this limitation by documenting the social representations of the concept of responsibility held by gamblers themselves. How does the gambler perceive the concept of responsibility? Do they have an individual-centred understanding of this concept or are they able to distinguish their individual responsibility from that of the other stakeholders? This qualitative research is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 young adults (aged between 18 and 30 years old) who participated in gambling activities in the year preceding the research interview (2018). The results reveal that the social representations of responsibility held by gamblers fit into five categories: self control, knowing the rules and making the right decision, enjoying the game, not becoming an addict, and preventing harms related to gambling. All of these categories were found to be rooted in an individual perspective of responsibility. These results are discussed in light of the process of constructing the social representations of responsibility within the responsible gambling approach and in a neoliberal context.

Author Biographies

Annie-Claude Savard, Laval University

Annie-Claude Savard is associate professor in the School of Social Work and Criminology at Laval University.  Her work delves into a critical study on gambling, focuses on the social construction of individual and collective responsibility, analyzes discourses in advertising and prevention messages and examines the medicalization of issues related to gambling.

Mélina Bouffard, Laval University

Mélina Bouffard is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at Laval University and professor of sociology at Centre d’études collégiales de Montmagny. She works with Dre Savard as the coordinator of research projects in the gambling field since 2018.

Jean-Philippe Laforge, Concordia University

Jean-Philippe Laforge is a Master’s student in Sociology at Concordia University. His research interests focus on medicalization, online gaming and the social construction of cyber-addiction. He is a research assistant in the gambling field since 2019.

Sylvia Kairouz, Concordia University

Sylvia Kairouz is a full professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. She published extensively in sociology, social epidemiology and public health journals She is currently engaged in funded research examining social inequality in gambling, social responsibility and governance. She holds an FQRSC research chair on the study of gambling and is the head of the Lifestyle and Addiction Research Lab at Concordia University.




How to Cite

Savard, A.-C., Bouffard, M., Laforge, J.-P., & Kairouz, S. (2022). Social Representations of Responsibility in Gambling among Young Adult Gamblers: Control Yourself, Know the Rules, do not become Addicted, and Enjoy the Game. Critical Gambling Studies, 3(1), 58–70.



Original Research Articles