The Black Box Bellagio

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Welcome to the Black Box Bellagio - an unusual casino that won’t take your money, but is after your freedom, integrity and private data instead. Play with the (un)fairness of expected values, predicted risks, and giving up your identity. Disclaimer: The house always seems to win.

The internet services we think of as free are often paid for with our data: it is the price of access, and is used to determine our treatment and advantages. Our data feeds the algorithms which can unfairly or wrongly categorise, exclude or discriminate against us. The Black Box Bellagio uses the dynamics of a casino to communicate the asymmetry of this relationship. At this casino, like on the internet, your personal data determines the advantages you get, the luck and misfortune you experience, and how much it really costs you to play.

The Black Box Bellagio has been developed by Roos Groothuizen (1992, NL), an Amsterdam/Utrecht-based designer and artist, who cares about digital rights. Fascinated with the unfair distribution of information and how online algorithms systematically discriminate us, her work reflects on in-depth research and recent developments, often with interactive or game-like elements. The Black Box Bellagio has been realized in collaboration with Ymer Marinus and the Waag.

Film documentation from De Nieuwe Anita (May 2018), by Jimena Gauna for Waag:

The Black Box Bellagio at de Nieuwe Anita / Aftermovie

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 732546. The Black Box Bellagio is organised as part of DECODE, a project developed by 14 European partners. Through this casino DECODE aims to engage a new group of people in conversations about personal data, privacy and data commons.

Pictures by Jimena Gauna for Waag
More picture and information: Click here

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

Initiated by: Roos Groothuizen
Realisation in collaboration with: Ymer Marinus

With help and funding from:
Phase 1: Theater Frascati
Phase 2: Waag, DECODE (EU Horizon 2020), Nesta (London)

What is the next step?

I am looking for organizations who'd like to host an event featuring the Black Box Bellagio. I can be reached at for more information on possibilities, transport & pricing.
So far, the Black Box Bellagio was held throughout the Netherlands and London. I am currently discussing the possibilities to host the casino outside of Europe as well.

I have many ideas on how to improve my existing gambling games and also ideas for new games. I would love to see the casino grow and I would love to spread its message outside of the Netherlands. If you have any (tips for) funding opportunities, I'd be very happy to hear them.

What can other cities learn from your project?

This project achieved to create open discussions between experts and citizens on the topic of privacy, big data and autonomy. The event allowed for an accessible setting where the issue was experienced throughout playing and humorous self reflection.