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Swedish machine gamblers from an ethnographic perspective

Philip Lalander


This article presents an ethnographic analysis of the biggest money-maker in Swedish gambling, namely, the state-owned electronic gambling machines, called Jack Vegas machines. The focus is on (1) social dimensions of the game and (2) various gambler types that develop in the Jack Vegas environment. In the section about social dimensions, there is a discussion about social interaction between gamblers and between gamblers and staff/owners of restaurants with the machines. There is a kind of sociality in Jack Vegas environments, but also feelings of irritation and frustration among the players. The text discusses the gambling types developed by Sue Fisher and, to some degree, Robert Custer and relates them to the Swedish ethnographic findings. But the article develops new gambler types as well. The gambler types developed by previous researchers in academic and empirical contexts need to be revitalized and further developed in new gaming environments.


ethnography; gambling machines; social dimensions; gambler types

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