Risky business: A few provocations on the regulation of electronic gaming machines

Abstract

Electronic gambling machines {(EGMs)} proliferate in Australian club and hotel venues, generating revenues of billions of dollars annually and accounting for the majority of gambling expenditure. These revenues arguably rely on unsafe consumption practices, generating considerable harm. Clear evidence is available describing unsafe levels of {EGM} consumption by regular {EGM} consumers in hotels and clubs, and indicating modifications to {EGM} technology and systems to minimize harm. However, a comfortable orthodoxy, the discourse of ‘business as usual’, perpetuates current arrangements, sustaining in particular a model of the ‘problem’ gambler as an individualized flawed consumer. The article argues that the marketing and distribution of {EGMs} is neither accidental nor something for which the individual is responsible, and neither is the safeguarding of oneself from the harm produced by goods licensed by government. Pursuit of a goal of safe consumption for all {EGM} gamblers requires disruption of the discourse of business as usual.

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