Policy Documents

Casino Gambling as an Economic Development Strategy

Terance J. Rephann, Margaret Dalton, Anthony Stair and Andrew Isserman –
January 1, 1997

Casino gaming has experienced dramatic growth in the United States during the past seven years.  Because this growth has occurred recently, there have been few systematic studies of its effects.  This paper uses quasi-experimental control group methods to study sixty-eight counties where casinos were opened during the period 1989-1993 and three multi-casino counties.   Results show that casino gambling is adopted by economically struggling counties and that it can be a successful development strategy.  The effects trickle down to other sectors of the economy, including recipients of income maintenance payments.  On the downside, local governments and local workers do not appear to appear to reap the lion's share of benefits, as much of the income generated by casinos is dissipated through leakages outside the host county.  Finally, some casino types and locations are marginally better than others, but these factors are not prominent determinants of casino effects at this time