, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 45-70

Checkered Expectations: Predictors of Approval of Opening a Casino in the Niagara Community

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This paper reports on the findings of a survey prior to the opening of a casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario (N= 1002 adults) on approval of the casino, expectations regarding the impact of the casino, attitudes toward gambling, gambling behaviour, and demographic information. The respondents generally had a positive attitude towards gambling. The expectations of community impact clustered into 3 factors: negative social consequences (crimes, addiction), negative environmental consequences (litter, noise, traffic), and positive economic consequences (jobs, stores, income). The majority of respondents expected economic benefits from the casino as well as a decrease in the environmental quality of the city. Expectations regarding social problems were mixed with a majority expecting an increase in serious crimes, but only a minority expecting an increase in people on welfare. Covariance structure modelling revealed that a positive attitude towards gambling and expecting economic benefits were positively related to approval of the casino, and expecting social problems was negatively related to approval. Given that more than seven in ten respondents supported the opening of the casino, the expected economic benefits coupled with a generally positive attitude towards gambling, apparently outweighed concerns about problems associated with gambling.