Regulating Volunteering: Lessons From The Bingo Halls

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This article uses charitable bingo to explore the socio-legal regulation of volunteers. Using case studies of two provincial bingo revitalization initiatives in Canada, I explore how charities and government officials manage the tension between regulating and incentivizing volunteers. I show that bingo revitalization plans in Alberta and Ontario increased surveillance of non-regularized workers and failed to protect charity service users from unpaid labor requirements. Moreover, revitalization initiatives reframe the volunteer role to focus on customer service and explaining how charities benefit the community. The potential for bingo volunteering to promote spaces of mutual aid with players will thus likely decline. I suggest that the allied power of charity and state over unpaid workers is increasing, giving charities better-protected interests in volunteer labor and changing the tasks that volunteers do. The need for more research exploring the interests of volunteers as regulatory stakeholders in their own right is thus pressing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-490
Number of pages30
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number2
Early online date11 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Bingo
  • Gambling
  • Regulation
  • Volunteering


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