Policy Documents

The Regional Economic Impacts of Casino Gambling: Assessment of the Literature and Establishment of a Research Agenda

Adam Rose –
November 5, 1998

This report was sponsored by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission to assess the many studies on the economic impacts of casino gambling/gaming.  This assessment includes:  a) anitemization of many considerations affecting economic impacts, b) an evaluation of formal impact analysis modeling approaches, c) a detailed review of important features of 36 major studies, d) a metaanalysis of causal determinants, e) a point-by-point summary of findings, f) a set of guidelines for futurestudies, and g) a research agenda to close the knowledge gap.

Economic theory and the preponderance of evidence indicate that the aggregate direct and indirect impacts of the construction, operation, and taxation of casinos are significantly positive. Broader economic costs relating to such factors as the use of government services and changes in property values are not insignificant, but they do not come close to canceling out the more conventional output, income, and employment gains.  Moreover, these broader negative impacts might be offset by some longer-term positive impacts stemming from increased spending of tax revenue on education, infrastructure, and redevelopment.  This assessment does not factor in social costs of gambling, which are beyond the scope of this study, but warrant careful examination.