Edging your bets: Advantage play, gambling, crime and victimisation


Consumerism, industrial development and regulatory liberalisation have underpinned the ascendance of gambling to a mainstream consumption practice. In particular, the online gambling environment has been marketed as a site of 'safe risks' where citizens can engage in a multitude of different forms of aleatory consumption. This paper offers a virtual ethnography of an online 'advantage play' subculture. It demonstrates how advantage players have reinterpreted the online gambling landscape as an environment saturated with crime and victimisation. In this virtual world, advantage play is no longer simply an instrumental act concerned with profit accumulation to finance consumer desires. Rather, it acts as an opportunity for individuals to engage in a unique form of edgework, whereby the threat to one's well-being is tested through an ability to avoid crime and victimisation. This paper demonstrates how mediated environments may act as sites for edgeworking and how the potential for victimisation can be something that is actively engaged with.

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