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Casinos and Economic Well-Being: Evaluating the Alberta First Nations’ Experience


  • Yale D Belanger

    (University of Lethbridge)

  • Robert J. Williams

    (University of Lethbridge)

  • Jennifer N. Arthur

    (University of Lethbridge)


Many of Canada’s First Nations have introduced casinos as an economic strategy to help mitigate existing socio-economic disparities. In total 17 First Nation casinos currently operate in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, while the provincial Nova Scotia First Nations operate ‘Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) palaces’ (i.e., no table games). Although the economic benefits of Native casinos in the United States are well documented, there is very little research to determine whether the same effects exist in Canada. The present research seeks to partly fill this void by evaluating the impact of the recent introduction of casinos to Alberta First Nation (i.e., reserve) communities. Findings show that there is significant variability in the economic benefits between communities. Nonetheless, it is clear that, in general, the introduction of casinos in Alberta has broad economic benefits to Alberta First Nations.

Suggested Citation

  • Yale D Belanger & Robert J. Williams & Jennifer N. Arthur, 2011. "Casinos and Economic Well-Being: Evaluating the Alberta First Nations’ Experience," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 5(1), pages 23-45, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:buc:jgbeco:v:5:y:2011:i:1:p:23-45

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    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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