Gambling and harm in 24/7 capitalism
Drawing upon original ethnographic data, this chapter explores how the growing influence of technology within the gambling industry has had a far greater impact than the mere expansion of participation and industry profit. Instead, it is argued that technological advances have facilitated broader shifts toward a ‘post-disciplinary’ culture of consumer capitalism that has altered the very nature of contemporary gambling practices. Contrary to dominant understandings of gambling as a spatially fixed and separate practice organised around excitement and drama, it is argued that contemporary gambling is a more spatially flexible and embedded daily practice that is geared toward low-stakes, perpetual, and accelerated repeat-play which carries an affective state characterised by an almost catatonic ‘depressive hedonia’. It is argued that such changes have generated a contemporary gambling milieu whose harms are arguably less spectacular and visible, but far more pervasive, insidious, and severe in their nature, demanding new conceptualisations which have dramatic implications for theory, policy-making, and media responses alike.