“Almost the Same but not Quite”

The Camouflage of Play in Gambling Iconography





Gambling, Iconography, Digital Media, Camouflage, Social Identities, Mimesis


Digitally mediated social networking is now an ordinary aspect of everyday life and gambling platforms are designed accordingly. This article explores how changing iconography has facilitated gambling’s rapid integration within social media and interactive entertainment products and platforms. While there is a substantial literature in cultural studies of digital video games and virtual worlds, most of the academic literature on gambling addresses clinical and regulatory challenges associated with problem gambling. As a consequence, the role of visual iconography, gameplay, narrative and soundscapes in constructing cultural spaces and products of gambling has been largely neglected. Critically engaging with established and emerging theories of mimesis and play, we explore how visual design facilitates the growth of new markets for gambling in a digital culture that privileges interactive forms of consumption.

Author Biographies

Fiona Nicoll , University of Alberta

Fiona Nicoll is Professor and Alberta Gambling Research Institute Chair in Gambling Policy. She is the author of From Diggers to Drag Queens: Configurations of Australian National Identity (2001), Gambling in Everyday Life: Spaces, Moments and Products of Enjoyment (2019) and co-editor of Transnational Whiteness Matters (2008) and Courting Blackness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University (2015). She has also contributed numerous articles and book chapters to scholarship in the following areas: critical race and whiteness studies, queer theory, Indigenous sovereignty, law, feminist studies, reconciliation, cultural economy and critical cultural studies.

Cesar Albarran-Torres, Swinburne University of Technology

César Albarrán-Torres is senior lecturer in Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. He has been widely published in academic and non-academic titles as a film and literary critic, author and translator. His current research focuses on what he calls “gamble-play media”, hybrid platforms where gambling and digital interactive media intersect. Other research interests include film and television, as well as the negotiations between social media and politics in Mexico. He is the author of Digital Gambling: Theorizing gamble-play media (Routledge, 2018) and Global trafficking networks on film and television: Hollywood’s cartel wars (Routledge, 2021).




How to Cite

Nicoll , F., & Albarran-Torres, C. (2022). “Almost the Same but not Quite” : The Camouflage of Play in Gambling Iconography . Critical Gambling Studies, 3(2), 160–173. https://doi.org/10.29173/cgs78

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