Problematizing Electronic Gambling

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Tommaso BARBETTA, The University of Tokyo, Italy
Considered as a morally dangerous activity, since the rise of modern nation-states gambling has often been marginalized through time and space legal limitations. Nevertheless in the last decades such a negative perception has been slowly mutating. Legalization and normalization of gambling activities have been taking place in different geographical areas at the same time. The rise of electronic gambling is one of the crucial element which has supported such a mutation.

Due to informatization and technological developments, since the eighties gambling industry has in fact undergone a radical transformation. In few decades computerization has changed the structure of gambling devices such as slot machines and pachinko, producing as a consequence, an exceptional expansion of gambling market. In 2013 the Japanese electronic gambling turnout has exceeded 200 billion euros. It is a huge economy which sustains and is sustained by a complicated network of powers and interests. which vastly depends on the participation of the so called “problem gamblers”, player who are addicted to gambling.

The fundamental problem is that from the market point of view, addicted customers are the perfect customers.

How should we address the issue of addiction, avoiding to fall into the consumption-overconsumption dichotomy? How should we deal with increasingly addictive leisure technologies and environments?

In order to face these questions, the present work adopts Bruno Latour’s interobjective theory, focusing on the impact environment, technology and designs have on the emergence of addiction.