The introduction of casino gaming creates employment opportunities and generates tax revenue for state and local governments, while also serving as an economic stimulus for local communities.
In 2002, the commercial casino industry provided more than 350,000 jobs in the United States, with wages and benefits totaling $11 billion. An estimated 400,000 additional jobs are supported by casino industry spending.(1) State and local governments nationwide received more than $4 billion in casino tax revenue, which helped fund local infrastructure improvements, education, public safety, housing and health care, among other programs, and provided tax relief to local citizens.(2)
A two-year study of legalized gambling in the United States conducted by the congressionally mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) found much evidence confirming the positive economic impact of casino gaming. The 1999 NGISC final report concluded the following: "As it has grown, [gambling] has become more than simply an entertainment past-time: the gambling industry has emerged as an economic mainstay in many communities and plays an increasingly prominent role in state and even regional economies."(3)
Research conducted on behalf of the commission confirmed that casino gaming creates jobs and reduces the level of unemployment and government assistance in communities that have legalized it. The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) found that communities closest to casinos experienced a 12 percent to 17 percent drop in welfare payments, unemployment rates and unemployment insurance after the introduction of casino gaming. NORC also found that communities with casinos have 43 percent higher earnings in their hotel and lodging sectors than those communities farther from casinos.(4)
In other commission-funded research, Adam Rose, an economist at Penn State University, concluded: "…[A] new casino of even limited attractiveness, placed in a market that is not already saturated, will yield positive economic benefits on net to its host economy."(5)
In its final report, the NGISC summarized the testimony heard from more than 20 elected officials from jurisdictions with casino gaming: "… Without exception [they] expressed support for gambling and recited instances of increased revenues for their cities. They also discussed community improvements made possible since the advent of gambling in their communities and reviewed the general betterment of life for the citizenry in their cities and towns."(6)
- Arthur Andersen, Economic Impacts of Casino Gaming in the United States, Volume 1: Macro Study (Washington, D.C.: American Gaming Association, December 1996), 7.
- State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment (Washington, D.C.: American Gaming Association, 2003).
- National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Final Report (Washington, D.C.: GPO, June 1999), 3-1.
- National Opinion Research Center, et al., Gambling Impact and Behavior Study, report prepared for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (Chicago: University of Chicago, April 1, 1999), 70-71.
- Adam Rose and Associates, The Regional Economic Impacts of Casino Gambling: Assessment of the Literature and Establishment of a Research Agenda, report prepared for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (State College, Pa.: Adam Rose and Associates, Nov. 5, 1998), 22.
- National Gambling Impact Study Commission, 7-5.