A Game of Money, Skill or Threat?

The annual conference of The Finnish Anthropological Society was held last week (May 11-12). This year's theme was Ideas of Value: Inquiries in Anthropology. The immensely active Finnish Foundation for Gaming Research sponsored one session named The Value of Gambling (Research), including my presentation about moral views about online poker. Professor Pauliina Raento concluded the session by talking about the significance of gambling/gaming research.

The other three presentations were exceedingly interesting. Riitta Matilainen's (Univ. of Helsinki) presentation The Introduction of the Roulette and the Changing Culture in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s described how roulette for Finns was not just a game but a prestigious symbol representing Finland's pursuit of western values. Perpetual Crentsil's (Univ. of Helsinki) The Good, the Bad and the Money explored the gambling cultures of African and Asian immigrants in Finland. Jani Kinnunen's (Univ. of Tampere) The Social Value of Gambling Online could be described a more hardcore sociological or philosophical investigation of online gambling.

All abstracts of the conference can be read here (go to p. 6 for the gambling session abstracts). Below is my abstract for the paper A Game of Money, Skill or Threat? Reflections on the Ethical Discussion Concerning Online Poker in Finland. Check out the presentation slides here.

Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) is a state-run gambling organization that will launch an online poker service for Finns in 2010. This paper describes and analyzes the ethical discussion provoked by an article in Helsingin Sanomat (the leading national newspaper) on the issue, and considers the various moral viewpoints taken of RAY as an online poker service provider, as well as discussing online poker as a wider contemporary phenomenon.

Image sources: Conference logo grabbed from the home page of The Finnish Anthropology Society and the other pic from Daily Mail online version.