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Objective. This study examines the economic and social impact of Indian gaming on the residents of the 22 pueblos and tribes in New Mexico.

Method. We employ a naturally occurring quasi-experimental design that classifies each of the Indian Nations into one of two groups, gaming and nongaming, depending on the continuous operation of a “Las Vegas” style casino for multiple years in the 1990s. For these two groups we compare aggregate, primarily U.S. Census, data spanning 25 indicators in both 1990 and 2000.

Results. Although improvements were evident for both groups, nine of the 12 economic measures and six of the 13 social measures revealed a growing disparity favoring gaming nations during the 1990s, while six other measures suggested declining but continuing differences. These findings persisted in light of controls for population and urbanization, though many of the economic differences disappeared for the rural nations.

Conclusion. Gaming has had a positive economic and social impact on the gaming pueblos and tribes in New Mexico, especially for the more urbanized nations. The gaming nations are enjoying higher incomes, lower levels of poverty, and improvements in selected social areas compared to those nations opting not to pursue casino gaming in the 1990s.