Social and environmental reporting practices of the gambling industry: an Australian perspective

Loh, C 2014, Social and environmental reporting practices of the gambling industry: an Australian perspective, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Accounting, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Social and environmental reporting practices of the gambling industry: an Australian perspective
Author(s) Loh, C
Year 2014
Abstract This research explores the corporate social and environmental disclosure (CSD) practices of Australian gambling companies to understand what information is reported in CSDs, and why. The first part of the study performs an analysis of the two gambling companies’ annual reports (1995-2009) to investigate the changing trend of the CSDs. The results show that the CSDs practices appear to be directly driven by external pressures, which suggests that CSDs are used more for legitimation purposes rather than for demonstrating accountability to stakeholders. The findings led to part two of the study which aims to understand the extent of accountability being discharged by gambling companies to their stakeholders regarding social issues associated with problem gambling. Responsible gambling and harm minimisation (RGHM) annual report disclosures by four Australian gambling companies for 7-year period (2005-2011) was examined, based on a RGHM index which consists of 30 specific issues relating to RGHM, in four general categories. The results show a low level of RGHM disclosure which is reflective of a low level of corporate accountability being discharged by the gambling companies. The findings of part two support that CSDs, particularly RGHM disclosures, are not used to demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. Part three of the study explores corporations’ views and perceptions of RGHM and problem gambling-related social issues to ascertain any potential difference between the views of gambling organisations as projected to the public (through media such as annual report disclosures), and the actual views of managers of gambling companies.

This part involves a review of public documents (public submissions made by gambling companies to the Australian government’ public inquiry into gambling) that allow direct access to corporations’ perspectives on RGHM and problem gambling social issues. In all, 13 submissions by gambling companies and its associations were analysed. The reviews of the gambling companies’ submissions made to the government inquiry appear to focus on the importance of profitability and argue against the further introduction and/or implementation of RGHM regulatory measures. However, within the RGHM disclosures (study results from part two), corporations seemingly proclaim themselves to be socially responsible and committed to minimising harm associated with problem gambling. This difference between the companies’ public position and their actual beliefs on RGHM issues reveals an apparent decoupling between corporations’ public and internal views on RGHM issues and raises questions about the credibility of, and motivation behind, gambling companies’ voluntarily produced CSDs. The findings provide further evidence to support a view that annual reports may not provide a true reflection of managements’ beliefs about their social information. Consequently, the findings have important implications for Australian federal government or state-based regulation relating to gambling: increased regulation surrounding RGHM might be necessary to address public accountability in the gambling industry and potentially minimise the prevalence of problem gambling.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Accounting
Keyword(s) Gambling
Social reporting
Responsible gambling
Harm minimisation
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Created: Tue, 03 Feb 2015, 10:54:42 EST by Denise Paciocco
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