Problem gambling has recently been reclassified as a non-substance-associated behavioral addiction. To the associated vital impact (family, social, labor, and economic), we must add its increasing incidence in recent years, which has led to prioritizing the problem from the point of view of public health. Although the effects of advertising on gambling behavior have been explored since the second half of the twentieth century, there is a lack of research regarding its underlying mechanisms. Thus, the objective of this review is to present an update on the effects of advertisements on gambling attitudes and behavioral intentions, as well as to present the neurobiological correlates of gambling-related cues as a possible hypothesis for this effect. Advertisements in various formats may act both as a precipitating factor and as a maintenance factor for the gambling disorder, changing both attitudes and beliefs about gambling. Activation of brain areas related to reward, such as accumbens nucleus, to memory, such as hippocampus or amygdala, and to executive functions could be the underlying mechanism of this effect. Also, ads promoting responsible gambling do not appear to be effective in reducing behavior or encouraging self-control, but the available evidence is scarce. Therefore, the number of studies on this topic needs to increase. In addition, the available evidence questions the effectiveness of responsible gambling policies to promote self-control in this population, as well as to reduce the negative impact of this disorder, so future research on neural-cue reactivity to gambling-related stimuli may serve to improve the design of advertising strategies that increase the impact of these messages.

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Published on 22/11/22
Accepted on 22/11/22
Submitted on 22/11/22

Volume 31, Issue 6, 2022
DOI: 10.3145/epi.2022.nov.14
Licence: Other

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