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The Moral Economy of Casino Work in Singapore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoney and Moralities in Contemporary Asia
EditorsLan Anh Hoang, Cheryll Alipio
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Publisher or commissioning bodyUniversity of Amsterdam Press
DateAccepted/In press - 16 Dec 2018


Singapore opened two world-class casino resorts in 2010 despite strong public suspicion and resistance. Casino work in these resorts brings a good income and certain prestige, but it also places employees in a state of moral uncertainty. Casino workers battle with their own moral codes and develop strategies to cope with stress and feelings of guilt. Drawing from fieldwork in Singapore’s casino resorts, the chapter looks at the moral economy of casino work, especially how employees negotiate moral dilemmas with financial and professional gains. Casino employees fashion a flexible sense of self and hold on to a strong belief in professionalism and self-responsibilization. Such strategies allow employees to suspend personal emotions in the workplace, and to value personal detachment as professionalism. As casino employees recode their moral values through the logic of ‘making exception’, they actively contribute to the moral economy of the casino in Singapore.



  • The Moral Economy of Casino Work in Singapore_accepted version_2018

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