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Vol. 1 No. 1 (2020): Open Issue
Critical Gambling Studies Volume 1

This is the first issue of Critical Gambling Studies 2020. It is an open issue featuring articles by James Cosgrave, Michael Egerer, Mikko J. Virtanen, Jennifer Reynolds, Sylvia Kairouz, Samantha Ilacqua, Martin French, Virve Marionneau, and Matilda Hellman. It also includes an interview with Professor Robin Room and a review of Las Vegas in Singapore: Violence, Progress and the Crisis of Nationalist Modernity by Lee Kah-Wee

Published: 2020-04-09
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Critical Gambling Studies is an open access, double-blind peer-reviewed journal published bi-annually. We welcome original research and writing from researchers working in established disciplines including: philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, politics, criminology, aesthetics, history, economics, literature, theology, art history and architecture, tourism and leisure studies, public health and law. We are also keen to consider interdisciplinary approaches to gambling research within an activist tradition. Our focus is primarily on research in the humanities and social sciences, but we would be excited to see innovative and accessible work in medicine, life sciences and other disciplines. We are open to any methodological tradition, including: phenomenology; ethnography; meta-analysis and big data analytics; critical race and indigenous studies; conjunctural analysis; experimental studies; survey methods; fieldwork; semiotic analysis; psychoanalysis; political economy; narrative analysis; statistical analysis and quantitative methods; and archival research.

Read the Author Guidelines and submit your manuscript here.


Call for Papers for upcoming special issues of Critical Gambling Studies:

CGS Special Issue: Promoting Early Career Research in the Gambling Field

Critical Gambling Studies, an open access, double-blind peer-reviewed journal, is published bi-annually. The journal welcomes original research and writing from researchers working in established disciplines including: philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, politics, criminology aesthetics, history, economics, literature, theology, art history and architecture, tourism and leisure studies, public health and law. Critical Gambling Studies is dedicated to supporting the insights of the next generation of ground-breaking researchers, whose work aims to promote changes in gambling practices, technologies and regulatory approaches.

Stemming from the 2019 New Critical Directions in Gambling Studies International Conference for Early Career Scholars held at the Université de Sherbrooke, this special issue will offer exposure to interdisciplinary scholars in the gambling field.  In particular, we will showcase innovative methods and novel techniques for conducting research and analyzing gambling data. As such, early career scholars, defined by being within the first ten years of their academic/research career, as well as their students, are encouraged to submit papers.

Submission Details

Submissions can be written in English, must conform to APA style, and take the form of a research article, literature review, measurement development article, prevalence study or theoretical paper. Both quantitative and qualitative submissions are encouraged. Submitted articles must not have been previously published, in whole or in part, in any academic journal or report.

Submissions close:

March 15, 2020

Where do I submit?

Entries must be submitted electronically via the CGS submission portal at:

Please remember to indicate you want the paper to be considered for this special issue.

Any further questions may be directed to the Special Issue Managing Editor, Dr. Eva Monson, at

Beyond Freedom and Dignity? Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Gambling Regulation
“The problem is to free men, not from control but from certain kinds of control.”  BF Skinner (1971)
Five decades ago, the behavioural psychologist, BF Skinner wrote: “The problem is to free men, not from control but from certain kinds of control" (1971, p. 45). As one of the first theorists of electronic gaming machines, Skinner’s writings provide a valuable bridge between gambling researchers working in humanities and social sciences and those working in medical and biological sciences.  How do Skinner’s criticisms of the ‘literatures of freedom’ contribute to current debates about responsible gambling policies?  What are the implications of this for the way we understand what it means to be human in an age of artificial intelligence?  What other persuasive theoretical frameworks for understanding gambling regulation might be used to displace or supplement the one offered by Skinner in Freedom and Dignity?  What relevance do Skinner's thoughts on the selection of behaviours, systems of contingencies and consequences, technologies of behaviour, survival of organizations, and evolution of cultures have on gambling?  We are seeking papers to address tensions between rights and responsibility, freedom and control at a moment when ‘sticky’ algorithms using variable reinforcement schedules have migrated from slot machines to other spheres of everyday life, such as social media communication, video-gaming and behavioural interventions via ‘nudging’ from corporate and governmental agencies.   

Transforming Landscapes of Luck
Inspired by the historical and political palimpsest of Macau, this special issue offers cross-cultural reflections on the gambler as a citizen, consumer and philosopher of fortune. All three of these aspects are embodied by the particularities of Macau, but also manifest more broadly across Asia and elsewhere, both historically and in the contemporary moment. The inevitable complexity of “the gambler” as a figure offers many different routes into theorizing those who play games with money on the line, and how their lives intersect with their surroundings, contexts, and historical moments.  What theories are best suited to understanding gambling in Asia and its global diasporas? What do gambling’s transforming architectures, physical, digital and regulatory, tell us about bodies, borders and statecraft in different kinds of capitalist societies? Which cultural histories and spatial narratives account for gambling’s transnational flows and local impacts? How do gambling industries reproduce and unsettle national, class, ethnic and gender identities within and between nation states? How is the gamification of everyday life, together with the gamblification of video-gaming, transforming what it means to play with and for money?

Real-Money Gambling in Digital Games and Play
We now occupy an era where players – often of all ages – are able to wager real-world money on the outcomes of events or contests in digital games. One part of this is the phenomenon of “skin betting”, in which digital goods (with real-world value) are wagered on the outcomes of competitive gaming contests, for example, or simply on the spin of a virtual wheel. Another is the rapid growth of “loot boxes”, digital containers that must be purchased for real-world money, and which contain an unknown selection of digital items which might, or might not, be useful to the player. Other similar concepts and forms of play continue to emerge at a rapid pace. How should gambling studies respond to these, without pathologising gamers? What concepts and methodologies from other disciplines, such as game studies, will be valuable to aiding our understanding of these? What are the policy and legal implications of these trends? And how are our understandings of both gambling and gaming as practices with particular norms and communities being unsettled by these changes?