Monday, December 14, 2015

University of Nevada study looks at the national county-level impact of legalized gambling

Revenue increased in non-Indian counties that opened casinos from 1987 to 2007—a period in which the number of states to legalize gambling went from 2 to 33—says a study by the University of Nevada published in SAGE Journals, Vyasan Radhakrishnan reports for Journalist's Resource. For all counties—many of them rural—"when a commercial casino is opened, the county showed an increase of 7.8 percent in per-capita revenues and 8.1 percent increase in per-capita expenditures. However, for all counties with Indian casinos, the opening of Indian casinos led to a decrease in per-capita county revenue by 3.6 percent and a decrease of 4.6 percent in per-capita county expenditure."

"Casino counties had significantly lower per capita sales tax revenues irrespective of the presence of casinos," Radhakrishnan writes. "Casino openings in those same counties had no significant association with county sales tax revenues. Casino counties showed a decrease in per-capita education expenditures by 6 percent when Indian casinos were opened in these counties. There is, however, no statistically significant impact on education expenditures when commercial casinos are opened in casino counties."

"Researchers did not find that opening casinos improved the fiscal condition of the counties," Radhakrishnan writes. "However, when a positive effect of commercial casinos was found, it was primarily through revenue sharing legislation. In these cases, local laws mandated states to share revenues from casino taxes with counties. For these states, the opening of casinos increased the sales tax revenues by more than 75 percent and increased revenues and expenditures by more than 11 percent and 12 percent respectively." (University of Nevada graphic)

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