Gambling, resource distribution, and racial economy: an examination of poker machine expenditure in three remote Australian towns
Young, M, Lamb, D & Doran, B 2011, 'Gambling, resource distribution, and racial economy: an examination of poker machine expenditure in three remote Australian towns', Geographical Research, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 59-71.
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Our aim in this paper is to examine the ways in which electronic gaming machines(EGMs) redistribute resources to and from three remote towns in the NorthernTerritory (NT), namely Katherine, Tennant Creek and Nhulunbuy. We describeEGM expenditure levels in each town at the level of the individual venue, examinepatterns of socioeconomic status within each town, explore the ways in which EGMmarkets are racialised through venue gate-keeping practices and spatially-basedalcohol regulations, and examine the effects of resource redistribution mechanismsdesigned to return a proportion of EGM proﬁts to host communities. The ability ofvenues to draw resources from extremely disadvantaged groups from the remoteperiphery is of central concern when attempting to assess the societal consequencesof gambling in remote towns, both in terms of individual harm and the adequacy ofresource redistribution. Existing mechanisms for resource redistribution are bothselective and relatively meagre, pointing to a political and racial economy of EGMgambling that transfers resources from remote towns to sites of centralised ‘white’power. We conclude that political economy in the context of remote NT towns maynot be understood outside a consideration of racial economy and the way thatconstructed notions of race operate to legitimate existing processes of economicexploitation and resource redistribution.