Together with my PhD-student Alexander Ross, I wrote an article on so-called “social casino apps” for the Journal of Consumer Culture. It’s an open access article so you can download the PDF here.
Title: Spinning is winning: Social casino apps and the platformization of gamble-play
Abstract: Social casino apps are an emergent genre in the app economy that sits at the intersection of three different industries: casino gambling, freemium mobile games, and social media platforms. This institutional position has implications for the social casino app’s political economy and culture of consumption. We argue that social casino apps are representative of a broader casualization of risk that has taken hold in a platform society. By combining the uncertainty and chance associated with gambling with the interruptibility, informality, and modularity of free-to-play mobile games, social casino apps offer complete contingency in how they are designed and played. Game progression and social networking features are used to normalize the relationship between the consumer of social casino apps and the contingency of their desired form of play. As a result, the experience of risk is no longer restricted to the casino floor and in fact becomes a part of one’s daily routine. This casualization of risk marks the next adaptation of the contingent cultural commodity, where nothing is guaranteed and everything is subject to chance.