The relationship between legal gambling and crime in Alberta

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Arthur, Jennifer N.
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Health Sciences, c2012
The legal gambling industry in Alberta has rapidly expanded over the last three decades. One of the main justifications that the Alberta government uses for this expansion is that gambling provides increased revenue to governments and community groups which is then used to fund public programs. However, critics argue that the social costs of legal gambling offset these benefits. One particularly controversial social cost of gambling is the impact that gambling has on crime. The academic literature is split with as many studies showing an increase in crime due to gambling as those that show no impact. The current study investigated how increased legal gambling availability has affected crime in Alberta. Four different sources of data were examined: the self-reports of gambling-related crime among problem gamblers in population surveys, mentions of gambling-related crime in police incident reports, uniform crime statistics from Statistics Canada, and information supplied by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC). The most unambiguous findings of this study are that gambling-related crime constitutes a very small percentage of all crime; crime that is gambling-related tends to be non-violent property crime; and increased legal gambling availability has significantly decreased rates of illegal gambling. In terms of the impact of legalized gambling on overall crime in Alberta, the evidence would suggest that legalized gambling likely has a minor or negligible impact.
x, 123 leaves ; 29 cm
Gambling and crime -- Alberta , Gambling -- Alberta , Crime -- Alberta , Dissertations, Academic