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Evolving Understandings of Bingo in Four Decades of Literature: From Eyes Down to New Vistas

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Bingo is a distinct, enduring but understudied form of gambling. It provides comfort and pleasure to many of its players while also causing harm to some. While traditionally seen as low harm, it is being reshaped by technological and regulatory change. Despite this, there is no recent overview of the literature on bingo. This narrative review seeks to fill this gap by exploring the development of literature on bingo since the 1980s, first providing a chronological overview of writing on bingo and then a brief account of major themes in the literature. The literature reviewed was primarily identified through searches of academic databases using search terms such as betting, bingo, electronic and gambling. We find that bingo research makes a number of important contributions: it allows better understanding of groups of overlooked gamblers, corrects biases in gambling literature, highlights the importance of social and structural factors in understanding gambling and employs methodological approaches that are congruent with the people and practices being studied.  Additionally, it provides new perspectives on gambling in terms of skill, affect, harm and control and offers a distinct viewpoint to analyse gambling and other phenomena.


Publication Date



Critical Gambling Studies






11p. (p. 110-120)


University of Alberta



Rights Statement

© 2022 The author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Critical Gambling Studies.

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