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Urban Casinos and Local Housing Markets: Evidence from the US


  • Huang, Haifang

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Humphreys, Brad

    () (West Virginia University)

  • Zhou, Li

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)


We examine the housing-market impact of U.S. urban casinos in nearby neighborhoods using data on home-purchase mortgage applications around opening years. Our sample covers 48 new urban casinos opened between 1995 and 2009. We compare changes in the volume of mortgage applications, the average loan amount and the average income of applicants in census tracts near new casinos to those farther away in the same metropolitan areas. We find that casino openings had little impact on the number of applications or applicants’ economic profile, but they were associated with declines in the growth of the average loan amount, which we use as a proxy for house prices. The negative effect persists even after we control for possible anticipation effects through which casino openings affect house prices before the openings, and urban casinos’ tendency to locate near poor neighborhoods that were disproportionately affected by the subprime mortgage expansion and collapse in the U.S. The estimated loss is 6-7 percentage points from trend over 3 years. We interpret the findings as evidence of casinos' negative impacts on residential amenities.

Suggested Citation

  • Huang, Haifang & Humphreys, Brad & Zhou, Li, 2014. "Urban Casinos and Local Housing Markets: Evidence from the US," Working Papers 2014-4, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2014_004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Wenz, 2007. "The Impact of Casino Gambling on Housing Markets: A Hedonic Approach," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-120, June.
    2. Jonathan Wiley & Douglas Walker, 2011. "Casino Revenues and Retail Property Values: The Detroit Case," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 99-114, January.
    3. Robert B. Avery & Kenneth P. Brevoort & Glenn B. Canner, 2007. "Opportunities and Issues in Using HMDA Data," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 29(4), pages 351-380.
    4. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Georgios, Kavetsos, 2010. "Form or Function? The Impact of New Football Stadia on Property Prices in London," MPRA Paper 25003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
    6. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496.
    7. 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.
    8. Goodman, Allen C. & Smith, Brent C., 2010. "Residential mortgage default: Theory works and so does policy," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 280-294, December.
    9. Earl L. Grinols & David B. Mustard, 2006. "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 28-45, February.
    10. Hanson, Andrew & Schnier, Kurt & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 2012. "Drive 'Til You Qualify: Credit quality and household location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 63-77.
    11. Huang, Haifang & Humphreys, Brad & Zhou, Li, 2014. "Do Urban Casinos Affect Nearby Neighborhoods? Evidence from Canada," Working Papers 2014-2, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Mar 2014.
    12. 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.
    13. Michael Wenz, 2008. "Matching estimation, casino gambling and the quality of life," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(1), pages 235-249, March.
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    More about this item


    Casino; Economic Impact; Amenities;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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