Academic journal article Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Letting the Right Ones In: Whitelists, Jurisdictional Reputation, and the Racial Dynamics of Online Gambling Regulation

Academic journal article Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Letting the Right Ones In: Whitelists, Jurisdictional Reputation, and the Racial Dynamics of Online Gambling Regulation

Article excerpt

Abstract

Using a case study of a recent UK whitelist intended to regulate online gambling, I examine the affective politics of listing. I pay particular attention to the racial dynamics of black and white listing. By charting how the gambling whitelist worked and failed to work as a tool in the designation of jurisdictional reputation, I argue that the use and subsequent abandonment of the whitelist shows the centrality of racial dynamics to listing practices. This is particularly evident in relation to how the list was deployed in debates about the trustworthiness of the Kahnawa:ke territory and Antigua and Barbuda. In the final section I explore the racialised affective practices forged after the demise of the online gambling whitelist. Although non-listing techniques of governance look to be expanding, in the form of increased surveillance of individual players, lists continue to play a key role in the UK government's new model of gambling regulation. I suggest that this confirms the continuing importance of black and white lists as techniques of governance, and the value of exploring them and their racialised implications together.

Keywords

Gambling, race, trust, reputation, whitelist, affect

Introduction

The proliferation of lists in the post-9/11 landscape has been much debated (e.g. Amoore, 2013; De Goede, 2011, 2012; Johns, 2013; Staheli, 2012). While much critical legal and political debate has understandably concentrated on kill lists and blacklists, I focus here on whitelists: classification systems and technologies that pre-authorise action or access for entities judged to be safe or trustworthy. Whitelists have long been used to express the sovereign grant of freedom to trade, in the form of lists of authorised companies or goods. However, they have also been oriented to countries and individuals. For example, scholars such as Matthew Sparke (2008) have examined pre-cleared frequent traveller programmes when trying to understand dual processes of heightened border surveillance for some and liberalised movement for others. In this article, I examine whitelists as affective and racialised techniques of governance. As I explain in 'The affective energies of whitelists in the UK parliamentary record' section, focused on how white and blacklists have been debated in the UK's Westminster parliament, whitelists work in part by mobilising feelings, atmospheres, and orientations regarding trust, pride, and inclusion. In 'Listing as a racialised affective practice' section, I move on to explore the racialised associative implications and seductions of whitelists. I suggest that race is central to the affective energy of trustworthiness mobilised 'by whitelists focused on places.' I hereby seek to contribute to a broader conversation about how race structures--and is co-constituted through--the affective seductions of lists that promise to pass on 'good' feelings and a sense of inclusion.

With this broader aim in mind, 'Online gambling and the creation of the UK whitelist' section of the paper introduces a case study of a failed UK whitelist designed to regulate online gambling provision. Initially many online gambling operators were located in small states, indigenous reserve territories, and offshore jurisdictions. In part as a result, jurisdictional reputation emerged as a core concern in national attempts to regulate the cross-border provision of online gambling. In the example explored here, in 2005 the UK's New Labour government announced the creation of a territorially focused whitelist scheme to regulate remote gambling, whereby regulators from applicant jurisdictions could apply to join a whitelist of places whose regulatory standards were judged to match those of the UK. If successful, gambling operators overseen by the regulator in the whitelisted jurisdiction could legally advertise their products to UK consumers.

This whitelist quickly failed. …

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