The making of the global gambling industry

An application and extension of field theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The past two decades have seen a global convergence from gambling prohibition to legalization, but also a divergence regarding how new gambling industries are structured and regulated. This article compares two cases of casino legalization exhibiting different and, given conventional understandings of the two countries, unexpected outcomes. In the United States, ethnic entrepreneurs (Indian tribes) were granted a monopoly on casinos in California; in South Africa, the new ANC government legalized a competitive, corporate casino industry. Through explaining these disparate industry structurings, two arguments are advanced. First, Bourdieu's field theory best describes the interests and strategies of industry "players" as they attempted to shape policy. Second, Bourdieu neglects the independent role of institutions in mediating between field-level dynamics and concrete regulatory outcomes. In California, Tribes converted economic into political capital through a public election. In South Africa, the ANC used a centralized commission to implement corporate gambling over public opposition, in essence converting political into economic capital. By viewing policy domains as "dramaturgical prisms" whose sign-production tools and audiences facilitate certain but not other capital conversion projects, I both explain unexpected regulatory outcomes and synthesize field and political process theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-297
Number of pages33
JournalTheory and Society
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

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field theory
gambling
ANC
legalization
industry
ethnic group
monopoly
divergence
entrepreneur
economics
neglect
opposition
election
Field Theory
Industry
Gambling
Casino
Tribes
Economics
South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

The making of the global gambling industry : An application and extension of field theory. / Sallaz, Jeffrey J.

In: Theory and Society, Vol. 35, No. 3, 06.2006, p. 265-297.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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