The relationship between distance from gambling venues and gambling participation and problem gambling among U.S. adults

Abstract

In this article we examine the relationship between extent of gambling for U.S. adults and the distance from their residence to the nearest casino or track. We employ data from a telephone survey of U.S. adults conducted in 2011–2013. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year, were frequent gamblers, or were problem gamblers were greater if they lived close to a casino. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year or were frequent gamblers were greater if they lived close to a horse or dog track. The effects of closeness to a casino on the likelihood of past-year gambling, frequent gambling, and problem gambling, as well as the effect of closeness to a track on past-year gambling, extended to about 30 miles from the respondent’s home. In addition, the concentration of casinos within 30 miles of the respondent’s home was positively related to the respondents’ chance of being a frequent or problem gambler. If a respondent had no casinos within 30 miles, he or she had a 2.7 % chance of being a problem gambler; if one casino, a 3.9 % chance; if six or more, a 6.2 % chance. The authors estimate that at least part of this effect is causal.

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