Casino gambling as local growth generation: Playing the economic development game in reverse?

Daniel Felsenstein*, Laura Littlepage, Drew Klacik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, casino gambling has become increasingly popular as a local economic development strategy. This article makes the case that using gambling as an economic development tool presupposes a rather different economic development "game" from that traditionally played. While the introduction of gambling into a community might induce the same short-run effects (local jobs and incomes) as the introduction of any other economic development project, the economic development processes at work are very different. This article compares the way the economic development game is traditionally played to the way it is played "in reverse" when casino gambling is used as the tool. The main differences are in the areas of community-corporate relations, fiscal versus economic impacts, market development, the role of government, and the provision of public goods. In light of these differences, distinctions in strategic behavior are drawn. Empirical evidence from Indiana is used to analyze the economic development game as played in the traditional setting of corporate recruitment and in the context of casino gambling. The conclusions point to some of the factors that constrain a community from fully maximizing its negotiating advantage as a resource holder.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


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