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Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-7913
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7921



Most studies of casinos have emphasized the pervasiveness of surveillance but they have generally focused on staff responses to being monitored. Given that surveillance is about care as well as about control, this article argues that surveillance is necessary in order to provide a safe environment in which customers can engage in the risky activity of gambling. The role of staff is to watch customers and each other, as well as to be watched over. The article uses a case study of a casino in a UK city to explore surveillance as work. Despite the presence of cameras and recording equipment, we argue that surveillance is primarily an embodied process of people watching people. We explore the different reasons that staff are required to watch customers: in order to respond to their needs, in order to police their behaviour to prevent illegal or deviant acts and in order to provide support and care if gambling behaviour is becoming problematic. We explore how staff learn what to look out for and how and when they intervene. Finally we argue that ‘surveillance work’ is relevant in a range of hospitality settings as hospitality organizations are increasingly required by government to take responsibility for the ‘policing’ of customers on their premises.


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