Studies on Gambling Crime –

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Casinos Linked To Organized Crime

Anecdotal information and popular myth have perpetuated claims by gambling opponents that casinos are linked to increased crime rates in communities and organized crime.  Nearly all recent publicly and privately funded studies, however, as well as the testimony of law enforcement agents from around the country, refute these claims.

Little Documentation

Research conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for the federal National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) found that “… the casino effect is not statistically significant for any of the … crime outcome measures.”

In its final report released in June 1999, the federal National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) noted that it had attempted to investigate the relationship between crime and legalized gaming through studies by the National Research Council and National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. These studies concluded that ‘insufficient data exists to quantify or define that relationship.’ A further examination by the General Accounting Office confirmed the NGISC findings.

A March 2000 report by the Public Sector Gaming Study Commission, a nonpartisan organization of state legislators who chair or are members of legislative committees responsible for gaming in their states, said:  ‘…

the majority of the information collected during the past decade indicates there is no link between gambling, particularly casino-style gambling, and crime. The security on the premises of สล็อต 168bet gambling facilities, the multiple layers of regulatory control, and the economic and social benefits that gambling seem to offer to communities are effective deterrents to criminal activity.’

A 2000 National Institute of Justice study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Memphis reported that ‘the casinos do not appear to have any general or dramatic effect on crime, especially in communities that do not have a high concentrations of casinos.’

A December 1997 study by Jeremy Margolis, a former director of the Illinois State Police, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and Illinois inspector general, found: ‘[T]here is little valid evidence to support the notion that the presence of casino gaming in a community has any meaningful impact on crime rates.’

As Safe As Without Casinos

In September 1998, 24 sheriffs and chiefs of police from gaming jurisdictions nationwide submitted to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission Crime and Gaming:  Statement of Findings, which reported no connection between gaming and crime in their jurisdictions. Testimony before the commission by other law enforcement and public officials from gaming communities across the country told a similar story and, in fact, pointed to a decrease in crime in their communities.

The Connection To the Casino Tourists

U.S. News and World Report did a comparison of crime rates in cities with gambling versus those that do not. The crime rates were significantly higher in the places that allowed gambling. Industry researchers dispute the view that cities with gambling have higher crime rates and assert that the rates aren’t higher when the tourist population is considered. The article failed to consider that these cities are vacation destinations and their population is swollen by the influx of tourists.

Atlantic City showed a jump in crime when gambling was legalized. The city went from 50th in the nation in per capita crime to first. But when the number of tourists are taken into account, Atlantic City doesn’t appear to have a crime rate that is much different from other cities.

In Deadwood, there were significant increases in crime and violence when gambling was

legalized. The researcher acknowledges that the influx of people may be the cause. Another possible cause is the boom-town atmosphere.

Another researcher has pointed out that the crime that is attributable to compulsive gamblers is often underreported. This includes bad checks, embezzlement, check forgery and fraud. The crime rate is usually for street crimes, which aren’t typically attributed to compulsive gamblers.

As noted in the economic section, Australia legalized a number of casinos. As such it offers a kind of a laboratory to see the results of expanded legal gaming. There was a noted increase in minor crimes, including vandalism and property damage by casino patrons. That may just reflect the growing number of tourists. There was not a big crime wave or any infiltration by organized crime.

Protected against Attempts

With regard to organized crime and gaming, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission stated, ‘… effective state regulation, coupled with the takeover of much of the industry by public corporations, has eliminated organized crime from the direct ownership and operation of casinos.’

The 1997 study by Margolis found that: ‘The presence and/or influence of organized crime is no longer a factor in the modern, regulated gaming entertainment industry.’

The 1976 report by the U.S. Commission on the Review of the National Policy Toward Gambling found: ‘Although organized crime once was a significant factor in some Nevada

casinos … the presence of organized crime in  Nevada today is negligible … On the whole [Nevada] regulations are sufficiently stringent and enforcement is effective.’

The total cost of state regulation over the gaming industry in (year) was (cost), with (number) regulators overseeing the entire industry. In addition, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adds a second layer of regulation over the industry in that there are more than 90 publicly traded gaming-entertainment companies that comprise the modern casino industry — companies that are subject to regulation by, and file extensive and regular disclosures with, the SEC.

White Collar Crimes

An August 1999 study, ‘Casino Gambling and White-Collar Crime: An Examination of the Empirical Evidence,’ by Professor Jay Albanese of Virginia Commonwealth University examined the impact of casino gaming on white-collar crime. The most comprehensive study to date on the subject, it reported that the evidence does ‘not support the claim that casino gaming contributes significantly to trends in embezzlement, forgery, and fraud.’ The study found an overall net decrease in arrests for white-collar crimes in the largest casino jurisdictions from 1988 to 1996, based on an analysis of arrest data in these communities obtained from the FBI crime reporting unit. The study also found, for the crimes of fraud and forgery, casino jurisdictions reported significant decreases in arrests, whereas the nation as a whole experienced considerable increases.


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