Leveraging the ‘power’ of big data in the production of ‘responsible gamblers’: a Foucauldian perspective

Allsopp, Rachel (2021) Leveraging the ‘power’ of big data in the production of ‘responsible gamblers’: a Foucauldian perspective. Information & Communications Technology Law, 30 (1). pp. 54-74. ISSN 1360-0834

Rachel Allsopp - Leveraging the power of big data article - clean v2.pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/13600834.2020.1807117


This article examines the big data practices employed by the online gambling industry to illustrate the wider societal power structures involved. As well as using data for commercial ends, gambling operators in the UK market are obligated by law to utilise gamblers’ data to protect problem gamblers. This paper argues that the use of data in this way can be interpreted as a form of social control when observed through a Foucauldian lens. Contrary to the dominant narrative of free and informed choice, gamblers’ behaviour is arguably being governed both at an individual level through disciplinary mechanisms of surveillance and correction, and at the level of the population through governmentality techniques applied to the gambling environment. Through big data practices and industry discourse, these mechanisms of power are used to frame the choices of individuals and shape them into a productive population of ‘responsible gamblers’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Foucault, governmentality, discipline, big data online gambling, power
Subjects: L200 Politics
L400 Social Policy
L900 Others in Social studies
M200 Law by Topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2021 16:30
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2022 03:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45226

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