For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Skills and Surveillance in Casino Gaming: Work, Consumption and Regulation"

by Austrin, Terry; West, Jackie (2005)


With gambling now part of mainstream entertainment and popular leisure, casinos have become sites of legal work, combining the technical expertise and craft skills of the croupier (dealer) in table games with increasingly deskilled machine-minding in simulated video games.There are parallels with other service work, but the significance of casino gaming lies in the manipulation of things, such as cards and money, rather than in interpersonal relations and self-embodiment. Moreover, surveillance is more specifically related to the particular conditions governing legalization of a formerly ‘pariah’ industry than to management-worker control. Drawing on fieldwork, we compare standardization in table and machine gaming and show how different forms of surveillance are crucial to the legalization of gambling as mass consumption. In highlighting the significance of materiality and regulation in service sector employment, the case of casino gaming thus takes us beyond conventional labour process paradigms. It also epitomizes a newly globalized form of work, currently promoted by industry interests but at the centre of intense public debate in the UK and elsewhere.


Automation, Machines, Technology, Surveillance, Gambling, Leisure, Craft Work, Empirical Study, British Context, Globalisation


Surveillance, Capitalism

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