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UNLV Report: Impact of Casino-Resort Development on Crime Rates In Toronto

Second report from UNLV International Gaming Institute examines crime impacts of a casino-resort in Greater Toronto Area.
Research  |  Dec 3, 2012  |  By Afsha Bawany
Media Contact: Afsha Bawany, UNLV Media Relations, (702) 895-5515

Second report from UNLV International Gaming Institute examines crime impacts of potential casino-resort in Greater Toronto Area. (Aaron Mayes / UNLV Photo Services)

UNLV International Gaming Institute researchers released their second in a series of reports that weigh the pros and cons of developing an integrated casino-resort in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

In this latest report, UNLV researchers Kahlil S. Philander and Bo Bernhard examine crime impacts associated with a new casino-resort development. According to the authors, the scientific literature suggests that casinos are no different from other tourism draws such as hockey games or the Canadian National Exhibition when it comes to crime. That is, while more visitors in an area can lead to a higher number of crimes overall, the actual risk to residents as measured by crime rates tends to remain unaffected.

“The notion that casinos increase the individual risk of crime is not supported by the research,” Philander and Bernhard write in the report. “We can conclude that a GTA casino should not cause any increased risk of crime-related harm to area residents.”

Authors note that a casino-resort, and the increased visitors it will bring, necessitates more law enforcement resources and that policymakers should weigh these costs when considering the economic costs and benefits.

Read more about the study “Informing the Public Debate: Academic Research on Crime and Casinos” on IGI’s website.

This study was supported by a grant from the Canadian Gaming Association. The paper is the second in a series that will examine the potential development of a casino resort in the Greater Toronto Area.  The first report examined the economic dynamics of a casino-resort in the GTA.

About the Reports Authors

Bo Bernhard is the executive director of the UNLV International Gaming Institute. Bernhard's research and teaching work focuses on the impacts of gaming and tourism industries on communities around the world.

He began his research career at Harvard University, with an undergraduate honors thesis on the community impacts of the gaming and tourism industries in Nevada. He then came to UNLV to earn his Ph.D. and soon extended his analysis to global settings.

During his career, Dr. Bernhard’s research has earned him international recognition, as he has presented his findings on six continents.  Most recently, he was named executive editor of the UNLV Gaming Research Journal, a Lincy Fellow at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West, and a UNLV Barrick Scholar.  His work on gambling, society, and Las Vegas has been prominently featured on CNN, The Discovery Channel, the BBC, and The History Channel.

Kahlil Philander has worked in the tourism and gamingfield as an economist and researcher since 2005. He has been actively involved in over two dozen economic impact studies. His research on gaming policy has been accepted in journals such as Tourism Economics, Gaming Law Review and Economics, and the UNLV Gaming Research and Review Journal.

Philander received his Ph.D. in hospitality administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where his research focused on casino gaming policy. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in economics from the University of Toronto.