Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Do Casinos Really Cause Crime?


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This paper discusses the recent study by Grinols and Mustard (2006), which examines the relationship between casinos and county-level crime in the U.S. The authors conclude that casinos cause a significant amount of crime. However, there are a number of problems with their analysis. The most serious problem is that their paper uses a crime rate that excludes the visiting population at risk, thereby overstating the crime rate in casino counties. Second, the crime data used are potentially inaccurate. Third, the results may suffer from a bias caused by counties self-selecting into the “casino county” category. Fourth, the dummy variables used to account for casinos do not allow the authors to isolate the crime effect caused by casinos. Finally, the authors make conclusions that are not supported by their data, analysis, and results.

Response to this article by Earl L. Grinols and David B. Mustard: Correctly Critiquing Casino-Crime Causality (EJW, January 2008).