Access to Legal Gambling and the Incidence of Crime: Evidence from Alberta


  • Brad R. Humphreys,

  • Brian P. Soebbing

  • Brad R. Humphreys is an associate professor in the College of Business & Economics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA. His e-mail address is: Brian P. Soebbing is an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, 112 Huey P. Long Field House, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. His e-mail address is: We acknowledge the financial support of the Alberta Gambling Research Institute for this research. Some results in this paper appear in Humphreys, B. R., Soebbing, B. P., Wynne, H., Turvey, J., and Lee, Y. S. (2011). University of Alberta SEIGA research team: Final report to the Alberta Gaming Research Institute on the socio-economic impact of gambling in Alberta. May 25, 2011. We thank Harold Wynne, Yang Seung Lee and John Turvey for their assistance and support, and acknowledge their contribution to the earlier report that informs this research.


Much research examines the positive and negative impacts of gambling in specific areas, including the relationship between gambling, such as casinos and electronic gaming, on crime. Since Grinols and Mustard, the academic literature finds a mixed relationship. The present research examines the relationship between video lottery terminals (VLTs) and casino gambling and crime in the province of Alberta from 1977 to 2008 using data from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. Estimates from a two-way fixed effect regression indicate little association between gambling and crime. However, some positive and negative crime-specific effects are found for both casinos and VLTs.