Ambiguity and Abjection: Residents’ Reactions to a New Urban Casino
Keywords:casino, city image, city identity, city residents, gambling, place-belongingness
While the social and economic costs and benefits of new gambling locations have been studied extensively, less is known about how new venues are experienced in view of city residents’ spatial and sociocultural identities. This study examines residents’ opinions and expectations on a new small-scale casino in the City of Tampere, Finland, as a case of new gambling opportunities in an urban setting. Nine focus group interviews were conducted with 43 Tampere residents three years prior to the scheduled casino opening. The study points out ways in which the residents struggled conceptually with the casino project. When speaking about it, participants drew on an imagery of popular culture, drawing a sharp line between casino gambling and the everyday convenience gambling so omnipresent in Finnish society. As residents of a historical industrial urban region, the participants positioned themselves as critical towards the municipality’s aims to brand the venue in a larger experience economy entity. By drawing on the concepts of city image and city identity, the study is able to demonstrate that the cultural geographical intrusion of new physical gambling spaces can appear as harmful to the city character. In the studied case, this is likely to hamper the City of Tampere’s chances to prevail on the very same experience market, of which the new casino is part.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Paula Piritta Jääskeläinen, Michael Egerer, Matilda Hellman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Critical Gambling Studies.