Qualitative Research in Gambling


Qualitative Research in Gambling: Exploring the production and consumption of risk

Edited by Rebecca Cassidy, Andrea Pisac, Claire Loussouarn

About the book

Gambling is both a multi-billion-dollar international industry and a ubiquitous social and cultural phenomenon. It is also undergoing significant change, with new products and technologies, regulatory models, changing public attitudes and the sheer scale of the gambling enterprise necessitating innovative and mixed methodologies that are flexible, responsive and ‘agile’.

This book seeks to demonstrate that researchers should look beyond the existing disciplinary territory and the dominant paradigm of ‘problem gambling’ in order to follow those changes across territorial, political, technical, regulatory and conceptual boundaries.

The book draws on cutting-edge qualitative work in disciplines including geography, organisational studies, sociology, East Asian studies and anthropology to explore the production and consumption of risk, risky places, risk technologies, the gambling industry and connections between gambling and other kinds of speculation such as financial derivatives.

In doing so it addresses some of the most important issues in contemporary social science, including: the challenges of studying deterritorialised social phenomena; globalising technologies and local markets; regulation as it operates across local, regional and international scales; and the rise of games, virtual worlds and social media.


"The unique contribution of this volume is perhaps to contrast the views of urban technological assemblages as a heterarchical ‘worlds of multiple orderings and non-linear connections’ (Amin and Thrift, 2005: 237) or as ‘structured, hierarchalised and narrativised through profoundly unequal relations of power, resource and knowledge' (McFarlane, 2011: 208). On the one hand, this volume reveals the complexity and diversity of objects that enter urban gambling assemblages and their manifold relations. Yet simultaneously, it discloses the uneven power relations within these assemblages that facilitate commercial gambling to transfer resources from poor neighbourhoods to a super-rich elite. As such, this volume makes the case for the gambling industries to be taken seriously as objects of analysis and provides ample grounds for discussion regarding the urban politics of distribution under conditions of late capitalism."

– Francis Markham, The Australian National University, Australia, published in Urban Studies

About the editors

Rebecca Cassidy is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has written two monographs about horseracing and betting in Britain and the United States. Her current project, supported by the European Research Council, uses ethnographic methods to study gambling environments in Europe.

Andrea Pisac is a Research Fellow in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her PhD dissertation explored how foreign books travelling to the UK readership create textual authenticity and authority. Her postdoctoral research focuses on casino and card gambling in Slovenia and its neighbouring regions.

Claire Loussouarn is a Research Fellow in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her PhD dissertation explored casino gambling among Chinese migrants in London while her postdoctoral research focuses on the British spread-betting industry.


Introduction - Rebecca Cassidy, Claire Loussouarn, Andrea Pisac

Border I: Between Methods
Chapter 1. Making Money with Money: Reflections of a Betting Man - Keith Hart
Chapter 2. The Socio-Temporal Dynamics of Gambling: Narratives of Change over Time - Gerda Reith and Fiona Dobbie
Chapter 3. Gambling Histories: Writing the Past in the Present - David Miers

Border II: Border Crossings
Chapter 4. Croupiers’ Sleight of Mind: Playing With Unmanaged ‘Spaces’ In the Casino Industry - Andrea Pisac
Chapter 5. Partial Convergence: Social Gaming and Real Money Gambling - Rebecca Cassidy
Chapter 6. Turning The Tables: The Global Gambling Industry’s Crusade to Sell Slots in Macau - Natasha Dow Schüll
Chapter 7. ‘Never a Dull Day’: Exploring the Material Organization of Virtual Gambling - Ghazaleh Gariban, Sytze F. Kingma And Natalia Zborowska

Border III: Between Worlds
Chapter 8. ‘Playing Properly’: Casinos, Blackjack, and Cultural Intimacy in Cyprus - Julie Scott
Chapter 9. Betting On People: Bookmaking at Delhi Racecourse - Stine Simonsen Puri
Chapter 10. Bad Luck, Slippery Money and the South African Lottery - Ilana Van Wyk
Chapter 11. One-Man One-Man’: How Slot-Machines Facilitate Papua New Guineans’ Shifting Relations to Each Other - Anthony Pickles Border IV: Between Investment and Gambling
Chapter 12. Weather Trading In London: Distinguishing Finance from Gambling - Samuel Randalls
Chapter 13. ‘If You Don't Care For Your Money, It Won't Care For You’: Chronotopes of Risk and Return in Chinese Wealth Management - Lily Chumley And Jing Wang
Chapter 14. Playing the Market? The Role of Risk, Uncertainty and Authority in the Construction of Stock Market Forecasts - Stefan Leins
Chapter 15. Spread Betting and the City of London - Claire Loussouarn


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