Kerry G.E. Chambers, Gambling for Profit: Lotteries, Gaming Machines, and Casinos in Cross-National Focus

By Cosgrave, Jim | Canadian Journal of Sociology, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Kerry G.E. Chambers, Gambling for Profit: Lotteries, Gaming Machines, and Casinos in Cross-National Focus


Cosgrave, Jim, Canadian Journal of Sociology


Kerry G.E. Chambers, Gambling for Profit: Lotteries, Gaming Machines, and Casinos in Cross-National Focus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011, 298 pp. Hardcover (978-1-4426-4189-1)

While gambling expansion can be seen as another product of the consumer society broadly speaking, the legalization and expansion of gambling over the last forty years is telling as an expression of globalization and the responses by states and corporations to social and economic shifts in late modern societies. One of the more interesting features of contemporary legalized gambling is its role in many jurisdictions as revenue delivery mechanism for the state. However, the expansion of gambling globally must be viewed in terms of a variety of factors--social, cultural, and political-economic, that either allow various gambling forms to emerge and gain legitimacy, or that constrain them.

These factors are the focus of Kerry Chambers' Gambling for Profit, a "cross-national" examination of the processes of legalization, legitimation, and adoption of three gambling forms, namely, casinos, lotteries, and gaming machines outside casinos (GMOCs) in Australia, the US, and Canada. To buffer the comparative approach, we also learn about features of gambling expansion in twenty-three other countries. Certainly, as the author notes, the task is ambitious. It must be said at the outset, however, that such an approach is needed as there has been a relative dearth of comparative studies in the field of gambling studies.

Gambling for Profit draws upon an array of theoretical perspectives in sociology and political science, and utilizes a wide range of source materials to present its comparative cases. The sociological reader will detect an implicit Weberian orientation throughout, insofar as the author wants to get past "one-sided" or "universal explanations" for the emergence of the global gambling phenomenon. By this, the author means explanations that have emphasized political economy to the exclusion of other factors, particularly those arising with the sociocultural realm. Further, the theme of legitimacy is central to the book. The discussion utilizes the concept of habitus, and signals its importance for gambling legitimacy in the different jurisdictions; the analysis of the attempts by governments and other interests to alter the symbolic meaning of gambling in order to gain public support for adoption, though, suggests that symbolic struggles and violence might also have been useful concepts. Chambers' approach lends itself to Bourdieuian field analysis.

The author points out that the dominant explanations for the spread of legal gambling have been political-economic. There are some good reasons for this, as the author's own evidence demonstrates: in most cases, despite differences in timing and the unevenness of development, gambling adoption has occurred as a consequence of economic downturns and fiscal crises in the jurisdictions studied. However, recourse to the political-economic realm alone sidesteps the important role of the socio-cultural realm, which interacts with the former to shape the possibilities for gambling adoption in the different jurisdictions. There are a number of cultural factors that come into play, such as: religion, traditions of gambling, attitudes toward gambling, crime and attitudes toward it, and political traditions. Further, as Chambers argues, culture itself is a central driver of late modern capitalism, and gambling itself is an "economic 'linchpin'" (p. 109). The discussion of the technological development, rationalization, and expansion of gaming machines (the "McDonaldization of gambling ... predate[s] the fast food chain by decades" p. 142) is particularly salient on this point.

The discussions of type of polity in the chapter on "Gambling for Profit in the Welfare Regimes," drawing upon Esping-Anderson's typology of welfare regimes (liberal, liberal-corporatist, corporatist, social democratic), are important for framing the political-economic contexts and the types of gambling policy and enterprises that emerge. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Kerry G.E. Chambers, Gambling for Profit: Lotteries, Gaming Machines, and Casinos in Cross-National Focus
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.