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Effects of Casino Gambling on Crime and Quality of Life in New Casino Jurisdictions, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2000
194 pages
This study examined the effects and impact of casino gambling on eight new casino jurisdictions.
This study provides a multi-dimensioned assessment of the impact of casino gambling in eight new casino jurisdictions, Alton, Peoria and East Peoria, Illinois; Sioux City, Iowa; St. Joseph, St. Louis, and St. Louis County, Missouri; and Biloxi, Mississippi. These locations were chosen because each had recently initiated casino gambling and law enforcement officials were willing to make available Part I and Part II crime data for four years before and four years after the casinos opened. There were three main components of the research plan. The first component consists of site visits to each location. A second major component consisted of telephoning several hundred residents in each community to obtain their opinions regarding the impact of casinos. The third component consists of gathering a variety of official data to determine how the communities changed once casinos were introduced. The findings reported were two-fold: findings relating official crime statistics to the advent of casinos, and findings relating to casino presence to community perceptions and quality of life issues included problem gambling, suicide, and divorce, bankruptcy, social capital, quality of life, and community satisfaction. The findings suggest that when casinos are introduced to a community the impact varies by community. In three communities, there were many more crimes that significantly decreased than increased. When studying these eight jurisdictions, it becomes clear that not all communities experience the same “casino effect”. It was important to understand that the new casino jurisdictions tended to have one casino. Biloxi, which has a high concentration of casinos, differed both positively and negatively from the other communities studied. Since most of the communities had casinos for less than 10 years, the positive and negative impact may well change given a greater duration within the communities. The effects of casinos in a community were seen as quite varied, depending on a multitude of variables beyond the scope of this research. It was determined that the simple analyses and broad generalizations of this research are not sufficient to understand the complexity of what happens in communities when legalized casino gambling is introduced. Tables, appendices, references

Date Published: November 1, 2000