The Casino Ethnography is a project conducted within Martin French’s Responsible Gambling in the Digital Era research, with the support of David Howes in the Centre for Sensory Studies and Sylvia Kairouz in the Research Chair on Gambling.
We look at the casino as a space of risk and consumption, but also as a space for the senses. We work with the principles of sensory ethnography in order to explore the feel, experience and atmosphere of the casino.
In contrast with the public health perspective on gambling, we approach casinos with awe and curiosity. We observe the hypo- as well as the hypersensoriality of the gambling space, and we pay attention to the dimension of play that can be described as neither exhilarating nor addictive: the routine of play and its dispassionate or even boring aspects.
The Casino Ethnography focuses on gambling spaces in Québec, primarily casinos but also VLT-equipped bars and gambling websites. Through this comparative ethnographic perspective, we explore some of the transformations of gambling in the digital era.