Leveraging the ‘power’ of big data in the production of ‘responsible gamblers’: a Foucauldian perspective

Rachel Allsopp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines the big data practices employed by the online gambling industry to illustrate the wider societal power structures involved. As well as using data for commercial ends, gambling operators in the UK market are obligated by law to utilise gamblers’ data to protect problem gamblers. This paper argues that the use of data in this way can be interpreted as a form of social control when observed through a Foucauldian lens. Contrary to the dominant narrative of free and informed choice, gamblers’ behaviour is arguably being governed both at an individual level through disciplinary mechanisms of surveillance and correction, and at the level of the population through governmentality techniques applied to the gambling environment. Through big data practices and industry discourse, these mechanisms of power are used to frame the choices of individuals and shape them into a productive population of ‘responsible gamblers’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-74
Number of pages21
JournalInformation & Communications Technology Law
Issue number1
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


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