Bingo Capitalism: The Law and Political Economy of Everyday Gambling

ISBN : 9780198845225

Kate Bedford
384 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2019
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Casinos are often used by political economists, and popular commentators, to think critically about capitalism. Bingo - an equal chance numbers game played in many parts of the world - is overlooked in these conversations about gambling and political economy. Bingo Capitalism challenges that omission by asking what bingo in England and Wales can teach us about capitalism and the regulation of everyday gambling economies. The book draws on official records of parliamentary debate, case law, regulations and in-depth interviews with both bingo players and workers to offer the first socio-legal account of this globally significant and immensely popular pastime. It explores the legal and political history of bingo and how gender shapes, and is shaped by, diverse state rules on gambling. It also sheds light on the regulation of workers, players, products, places, and technologies. In so doing it adds a vital new dimension to accounts of UK gambling law and regulation. Through Bingo Capitalism, Bedford makes a key theoretical contribution to our understanding of the relationship between gambling and political economy, showing the role of the state in supporting and then eclipsing environments where gambling played a key role as mutual aid. In centring the regulatory entanglement between vernacular play forms, self-organised membership activity, and corporate leisure experiences, she offers a fresh vision of gambling law from the everyday perspective of bingo.


Part 1: Why Bother with Bingo?
1 Introduction
2 Why Bother with Bingo?
Part 2: National Bingo Visions: Mutual Aid, Commerce, and Gender in British Gambling Debates 1900-2005
3 Eyes Down: Early State Attention to Bingo (1900-1968)
4 Maggie's Den: Commercial Deregulation, Charity, and Adapted Gambling Moralities (1968-1997)
5 'Something Rather Perverse': Gambling Reform and the Sidelining of Bingo under New Labour (1997-2005)
Part 3: Regulating People: Entry Rules for Workers and Players
6 Death of the Ex-Policeman: Gender, Class and Personnel Licensing in the Era of Self-Regulation
7 The Socio-Legal Significance of Membership: Snowballs, Strangers, Virgins, and Regulars
Part 4: Constituting Bingo and Its Harms: Worker and Player Adaptation in the Face Of New Technologies and State Definitional Practices
8 State Optics and Bingo Definitions: Bringing Workers back in to the Regulation of Technologies, Mechanics, and Places of Play
9 Innovation Framing, Regulation, and User Adaptation Online: why there are no flasks in online bingo
10 Social Responsibility, New Technologies, and Problem Gambling in Bingo: Where to point the dabber?
Appendix 1 Note on Methodology
Appendix 2 Table of Interviews

About the author: 

Kate Bedford is a Professor of Law at Birmingham Law School. She has written extensively on the sociolegal understanding of gambling and of bingo, and also on gender and politics. In 2008, she began a project on the gendered political economy of gambling regulation, using commercial and non-commercial bingo to think in new ways about the regulation of everyday speculation.

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