Do Casinos Contribute to Violent Crime? A Panel Data Analysis of Michigan Counties

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Philip Thompson
Greg A Falls


A key part of the debate over the current rapid increase in the number of casinos in the U.S. concerns the impact on crime rates resulting from the presence of a casino. In this analysis we use panel data covering all 83 Michigan counties for each year 1994-2010 to investigate whether the existence and size of a casino in a host county or in a nearby county affect the rates of four violent crimes: murder, rape, aggravated assault, and arson. We include a number of variables to control for factors that affect crime more generally. We find that county violent crime rates in Michigan do not rise in the presence of a casino, and in the case of aggravated assault, may actually fall. Previous studies of the impact of casinos on a variety of crimes in a variety of locations have shown mixed results.

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Author Biography

Philip Thompson, Western Washington University

Assistant Professor of Economics


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