The Nexus of Practices Approach to Gambling

Gambling involves placing something of value on an event with the intention of winning another item of value. There are various different forms of gambling, including horse racing, slot machines and poker. The most common types of gambling, however, are casino games and sports betting. Many people have a problem with gambling, and this can cause serious financial, emotional and family problems. The good news is that it is possible to stop gambling and start living a happier life again. The first step is to recognise the signs of gambling addiction and get help. This could be by talking to a friend or a professional counsellor, taking medication or reducing the amount of money you use to gamble. You can also learn how to relieve unpleasant feelings in healthier ways, such as exercising, spending time with friends who don’t gamble and finding new hobbies.

Despite a wealth of research on the psychological, emotional and economic aspects of gambling, there is a smaller but growing corpus of research that considers the role of socio-cultural factors in gambling-related harm. This work is largely framed through social practice theory and the notion that individual behaviour takes place within a nexus of social practices.

A nexus of practices perspective offers an alternative to approaches that are framed through psychological models and ideas of individual behaviour and addiction. It encourages consideration of the interconnectedness of a person’s everyday activities and routines. Often these ‘bundles’ of practices are performed at specific times of the day or week and may include such diverse activities as eating, drinking alcohol, socialising and gambling. Similarly, such practices can occur concomitantly with other activities like work and home life.

These practices may also be influenced by social, political and economic factors. For example, critical scholars have drawn attention to how neoliberal ideology and processes of globalisation, marketisation and liberalisation shape the nexus of gambling practices. More normatively orientated scholars have also highlighted how concepts of status and success can be aligned with gambling practices [29].

A nexus of practices approach offers the potential to understand how different influences can interact through a complex and layered web. This is particularly relevant in the case of gambling, where a person’s behaviour and habits are constantly being shaped by a changing environment. For example, the increasing popularity of sports betting in casinos has led to a shift from traditional casino games to more technologically advanced products and services, and the use of social media for marketing.