Evaluating crime attributable to casinos in the US: A closer look at Grinols and Mustard’s ‘Casinos, crime, and community costs’

Abstract

This paper examines problems in studying the relationship between casinos and crime; with a focus on a recently published; influential study {(Grinols} and Mustard 2006) which concluded that casinos cause a significant amount of county-level crime in the {U.S.} Five key issues are examined. First; the most serious problem with their analysis is that it uses a crime rate that excludes the visiting population at risk; thereby overstating the crime rate in casino counties. Second; the crime data used are potentially inaccurate. Third; the results may suffer from a bias caused by counties self-selecting into the "casino county" category. Fourth; the dummy variables used to account for casinos do not allow the authors to isolate the crime effect caused by casinos. Finally; the authors make conclusions that are not supported by their data; analysis; and results. An examination of these issues is important because it will shed additional light on the debate over the effects of casinos; and provides valuable information for subsequent researchers who study the casino-crime relationship.

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