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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Mark Steven Reece
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: School of Public Affairs and Administration
Title: Economic Impacts of Casino Gambling on Rural Michigan Communities
Dr. Robert Peters, Chair
Dr. Matthew Mingus
Dr. Jeffrey Greene
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. Walwood Commons
It is important to communities considering future casino development to know whether the magnitude of the economic effects of this type of development in other communities has had an economic impact. Proponents argue that gaming provides a viable means of financial and economic support for communities as they transition away from industrialized income to service industry employment opportunities. The factors under study here are a measure of economic changes within Michigan communities where casino sites have been located.
It may be argued that negative social costs associated with gambling are more than offset by the economic good produced by the associated business. For this argument to hold up, there must be an economic good; although determining the existence of it is very difficult. Apparent benefits are masked by a balance of trade between communities, the impact of substitution, and confusion as to the position of the viewer. Are we discussing economic benefit to the state, the local government, the local citizens, or the owners of the casino? In Michigan, all of the casino activity outside the Detroit metropolitan area is operated under the Indian tribal authority. This means that in addition to all the other offsetting balances, the casinos in this study are operated by sovereign nations whose existence is, to a degree, outside the United States. This business activity is not only a balance of trade between communities; it is a balance of trade between nations.
In order to understand the impact of adding a casino to a rural Michigan community, one must study the economic changes in that community during the period surrounding the opening of the casino. It is not possible to prove the changes were the result of the casino. If significant changes occurred, it may be possible to attribute the change to the introduction of casino gambling.
This study will test for changes in the community’s economic status for the years preceding and following several casino openings. All casino operations in the State of Michigan, outside the Detroit metropolitan area, were included.
There is no significant expectation of positive, negative, or neutral change in the population, labor force, percentage of population employed, or any of the SEV factors observed. If community leaders are offered a casino, they will need to evaluate the proposal very carefully, as the often-forecasted economic benefits to the community are not always actualized.