Effects of Casinos on Alcohol Behaviors: Evidence from Native American Casino Openings

Monday, June 13, 2016: 5:05 PM
F50 (Huntsman Hall)

Author(s): Michael T Mathes

Discussant: Scott J. Adams

Native American tribes have opened hundreds of casinos in the United States since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, yet we still know relatively little about the effects of Native American casinos on the relevant populations.  I provide new evidence on the effect of Native American casino openings on alcohol behaviors of Native Americans and non-Native Americans from 2004-2012 using data from Center for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and difference-in-differences models with county and year fixed effects.  I find that Native American casinos increase binge drinking among non-Native Americans by 11%; effects on Native Americans are inconclusive.  Native American casino openings are associated with increases in drinking participation in the past month and the average number of drinks consumed on an occasion for non-Native Americans.  The casino-related increases in binge drinking for non-Native Americans are larger among men, 18-40 year olds, and individuals with a high school degree or less.  These findings highlight a previously ignored social cost of Native American casinos and provide a mechanism for results from previous work that casinos increase drunk driving fatalities and crime.