Can't Stop the One-Armed Bandits: The Effects of Access to Gambling on Crime

47 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 31 Aug 2017

See all articles by Nicolas L. Bottan

Nicolas L. Bottan

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management

Andrés Ham

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Government

Ignacio Sarmiento-Barbieri

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: August 16, 2017

Abstract

We study the effect of a large increase in access to gambling on crime by exploiting the expansion of video gambling terminals in Illinois since 2012. Even though video gambling was legalized by the State of Illinois, local municipalities were left with the decision whether to allow it within their jurisdiction. The City of Chicago does not allow video gambling, while many adjacent jurisdictions do. We take advantage of this setting along with detailed incident level data on crime for Chicago to examine the effect of access to gambling on crime. We use a difference-in-differences strategy that compares crime in areas that are closer to video gambling establishments with those that are further away along with the timing of video gambling adoption. We find that (i) access to gambling increases violent and property crimes; (ii) these are new crimes rather than displaced incidents; and (iii) the effects seem to be persistent in time.

Keywords: video gambling, crime, Chicago

JEL Classification: L83, R58

Suggested Citation

Bottan, Nicolas Luis and Ham, Andrés and Sarmiento-Barbieri, Ignacio, Can't Stop the One-Armed Bandits: The Effects of Access to Gambling on Crime (August 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3020332 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3020332

Nicolas Luis Bottan (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
6072555724 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nicolasbottan.com

Andrés Ham

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - School of Government ( email )

Cra 1. No. 19 - 27. Bloque Aulas Tercer piso
Bogotá D.C.
Colombia

Ignacio Sarmiento-Barbieri

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

Urbana-Champaign, IL
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.illinois.edu/~ignacio

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