The GameBling Game Jam

Game Jams as a Method for Studying Gambling Games




Gambling scholars may be unfamiliar with the research methods used by their colleagues in game studies. Yet, as gambling becomes gamified, and gaming becomes gamblified, the intersection between our two fields continues to grow. The GameBling game jam, which took place in 2022 at Concordia University, proposed to explore this growing intersection by applying a game making and game studies method—the game jam (see, for instance, Kultima 2015; Meriläinen et al., 2020; Ruberg & Shaw, 2017)—to a gambling object—the slot machine. This post argues that game jams can be used in gambling studies to learn more about public perceptions of slot machines, to reverse-engineer black-boxed gambling algorithms, or even to help new research interests emerge through the process of game creation. We ultimately propose that the practice of creating games from scratch in a limited time frame, or "game jamming," is an innovative research method that can help uncover new ways to think about and question social science concepts.

Author Biographies

Pauline Hoebanx, Concordia University

Pauline Hoebanx is a doctoral candidate in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. Her research interests include the transformation of digital spaces and digital communications; the mobilization of anti-feminist movements online; and the moderation of risky behaviours on social media platforms. She is also the research coordinator for the JREN research team, at Concordia University’s Research Chair on Gambling.

Idun Isdrake, Concordia University

Idun Isdrake is a game designer, film director and PhD researcher at Concordia University. Their work is concerned with Nordic/Arctic Futurism, ranging from landscape photography and art house games and film, to innovation in cyborg interfaces and AI systems. Isdrake is a recipient of several film and game awards and founded Sweden's first game innovation lab and game art gallery, contributing to increased diversity, social wellbeing, and digital literacy in several sectors. They have master degrees in Film and Archaeology, and a wide selection of course credits in geology, photography, fine arts, interaction design, information technologies and cognitive sciences. Portfolio at

Sylvia Kairouz, Concordia University

Sylvia Kairouz is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. She has published extensively in sociology, social epidemiology and public health journals and won the Brain Star Award of the Canadian Institute of Health Research for her innovative work on the role of social contexts in alcohol consumption. She is currently engaged in funded research examining comprehensive multilevel models of determinants of gambling behaviours. She holds an FQRSC research chair on the study of gambling and is the head of the Lifestyle and Addiction Research Lab at Concordia University, and the scientific co-director of the HERMES research team.

Bart Simon, Concordia University

Bart Simon is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. His research is focused on the areas of science and technology studies, critical post-humanism and everyday technocultures with specific interests in digital culture, games and virtual worlds, and simulation, surveillance and social control. In 2004, Simon launched the Montreal GameCODE project, a Concordia-based research initiative to examine the cultural impact of digital games. In 2009 he became the director of a new broader cross-faculty research initiative in Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG).

Martin French, Concordia University

Martin French is an associate professor with the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Concordia University. His research examines the social dimensions of technology with an empirical focus on communications & information technology (CIT). Martin is currently leading a research project examining how ‘risky’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘contested’ forms of consumption are sensed, surveyed, and governed in contemporary life. He is also the director of the JREN research team at Concordia University’s Research Chair on Gambling.


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How to Cite

Hoebanx, P., Isdrake, I., Kairouz, S., Simon, B., & French, M. (2023). The GameBling Game Jam: Game Jams as a Method for Studying Gambling Games. Critical Gambling Studies.



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