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The Spatial Extents of Casino Catchments in Australia


  • Francis Markham,

  • Bruce Doran,

  • Martin Young

  • Francis Markham is a research associate at the Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia. His email address is Bruce Doran is a senior lecturer at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. His email address is Martin Young is a senior lecturer at Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, Australia. His email address is The authors acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council and the Community Benefit Fund of the Northern Territory (ARC Linkage Grant LP0990584) and thank Tourism Research Australia for their generous provision of the National Visitors Survey unit record file. The authors would also like to thank attendees at the Western Regional Science Association 2012 Annual Meeting, Kauai, USA and two anonymous reviewers for their critical feedback on previous versions of this manuscript.


Casinos have proliferated throughout Australia and in many other parts of the world since the late twentieth century. An emerging body of research has started to explicitly consider the social and economic impacts of casinos in different settings. Many of the potential impacts of casinos are spatially patterned and relate to the connectivity of patrons and venues. In this paper, we use a predictive trade-area analysis technique, the Huff model, to estimate the spatial extent of casino catchments in Australia and compare these outputs to travel data from National Visitors Survey. Many casinos draw patrons from regional areas and from other states, a set of cross-jurisdictional patterns that pose regulatory challenges in terms of managing economic benefits and the distribution of harms arising from casino gambling. Avenues for logical extensions of the approach are discussed as well as alternative methods of sourcing data for validating predictive outputs.