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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.

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 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.

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