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The Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling


  • Melissa S. Kearney


This paper reviews the government role in the legalized gambling sector and addresses some of the major issues relevant to any normative analysis of what the government role should be. In particular, the paper reviews evidence identifying the economic "winners" and "losers" associated with the three largest sectors of the industry: commercial casinos, state lotteries, and Native American casinos. The paper also includes a discussion of the growing internet gambling industry. In addition to reviewing existing literature and evidence, the paper raises relevant questions and policy issues that have not yet been adequately addressed in the economics literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "The Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling," NBER Working Papers 11234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11234
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ann Hansen, 1995. "The Tax Incidence of the Colorado State Lottery Instant Game," Public Finance Review, , vol. 23(3), pages 385-398, July.
    2. Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Skidmore, Mark, 1993. "Fiscal Pressure, Tax Competition, and the Introduction of State Lotteries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 463-476, December.
    3. Charles T. Clotfelter & Philip J. Cook, 1991. "The "Gambler's Fallacy" in Lottery Play," NBER Working Papers 3769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kearney, Melissa Schettini, 2005. "State lotteries and consumer behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2269-2299, December.
    5. Gulley, O. David & Scott, Frank A. Jr., 1989. "Lottery Effects on Pari-Mutuel Tax Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(1), pages 89-93, March.
    6. Jonathan Rork & Stephen Fink, 2003. "The Importance of Self-Selection in Casino Cannibalization of State Lotteries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(10), pages 1-8.
    7. Terrell, Dek, 1994. "A Test of the Gambler's Fallacy: Evidence from Pari-mutuel Games," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 309-317, May.
    8. William R. Eadington, 1999. "The Economics of Casino Gambling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 173-192, Summer.
    9. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 778-794, September.
    10. Anthony V. Popp & Charles Stehwien, 2002. "Indian Casino Gambling and State Revenue: Some Further Evidence," Public Finance Review, , vol. 30(4), pages 320-330, July.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2003:i:10:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Tosun, Mehmet Serkan & Skidmore, Mark, 2004. "Interstate Competition and State Lottery Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 163-178, June.
    13. William N. Evans & Julie H. Topoleski, 2002. "The Social and Economic Impact of Native American Casinos," NBER Working Papers 9198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:reg:ranaly:162 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Donald S. Elliott & John C. Navin, 2002. "Has Riverboat Gambling Reduced State Lottery Revenue?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 30(3), pages 235-247, May.
    16. Robert Hahn & Paul Tetlock, 2006. "A New Approach for Regulating Information Markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 265-281, May.
    17. Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Skidmore, Mark, 1993. "Fiscal Pressure, Tax Competition, and the Introduction of State Lotteries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 463-76, December.
    18. Andrew C. Worthington, 2001. "Implicit Finance in Gambling Expenditures: Australian Evidence on Socioeconomic and Demographic Tax Incidence," Public Finance Review, , vol. 29(4), pages 326-342, July.
    19. Gulley, O. David & Scott, Frank A. Jr., 1989. "Lottery Effects on Pari-Mutuel Tax Revenues," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(1), pages 89-93, March.
    20. Mary O. Borg & Paul M. Mason & Stephen L. Shapiro, 1993. "The Cross Effects of Lottery Taxes On Alternative State Tax Revenue," Public Finance Review, , vol. 21(2), pages 123-140, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Garrett, Thomas A. & Nichols, Mark W., 2008. "Do casinos export bankruptcy?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1481-1494, August.
    2. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2012. "Spatial Competition and Cross-Border Shopping: Evidence from State Lotteries," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 199-229, November.
    3. Narayanan, Sridhar & Manchanda, Puneet, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Individual Level Casino Gambling Behavior," Research Papers 2003, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Humphreys, Brad R. & Marchand, Joseph, 2013. "New casinos and local labor markets: Evidence from Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 151-160.
    5. Brad R. Humphreys & Brian P. Soebbing, 2014. "Access to Legal Gambling and the Incidence of Crime: Evidence from Alberta," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 98-120, March.
    6. Emily Haisley & Romel Mostafa & George Loewenstein, 2008. "Myopic risk-seeking: The impact of narrow decision bracketing on lottery play," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 57-75, August.
    7. Kent Grote & Victor Matheson, 2011. "The Economics of Lotteries: A Survey of the Literature," Working Papers 1109, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    8. Sridhar Narayanan & Puneet Manchanda, 2012. "An empirical analysis of individual level casino gambling behavior," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 27-62, March.
    9. Michael Wenz, 2014. "Valuing Casinos as a Local Amenity," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 136-158, March.
    10. Tufano, Peter & De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Maynard, Nick, 2011. "U.S. consumer demand for prize-linked savings: New evidence on a new product," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 116-118, May.
    11. J. Anthony Cookson, 2010. "Institutions and Casinos on American Indian Reservations: An Empirical Analysis of the Location of Indian Casinos," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 651-687.
    12. Jonathan A. Schwabish, 2005. "Regulating Underground Industry: An Economic Analysis of Sports Betting," New York Economic Review, New York State Economics Association (NYSEA), pages 65-77.
    13. Hyclak, Thomas, 2011. "Casinos and campus crime," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 31-33, July.
    14. Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "E-ZTax: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 12924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. David Forrest, 2008. "Gambling Policy in the European Union: Too Many Losers?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(4), pages 540-569, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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