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Keywords:

  • casinos;
  • Aboriginal gambling;
  • electronic gaming machines;
  • Central Australia;
  • social inclusion

Abstract

We critically analyse the ways in which a particular gambling space, Lasseters Hotel Casino, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, has incorporated the marginalised Aboriginal population of central Australia into the market economy as consumers, despite the failure of the market and the state to provide meaningful inclusionary alternatives in the realm of production. We explore the ways in which this gambling space has evolved as a synthesis between the imperative of capital accumulation on one hand, and the demands for the reproduction of Aboriginal social life on the other. We examine the dialectical relations between technology and consumption practices, the ideology of chance, and racialised regulation that, in combination, produce a contradictory space of economic exploitation and social inclusion. We argue that the casino has achieved something that the state has failed to do across remote Australia, that is, provide an inclusionary space for Aboriginal people within society, albeit an economically exploitative one.