Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 1055–1063 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Distance from Gambling Venues and Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Among U.S. Adults

  • John W. WelteEmail author
  • Grace M. Barnes
  • Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell
  • Joseph H. Hoffman
  • William F. Wieczorek
Original Paper


In this article we examine the relationship between extent of gambling for U.S. adults and the distance from their residence to the nearest casino or track. We employ data from a telephone survey of U.S. adults conducted in 2011–2013. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year, were frequent gamblers, or were problem gamblers were greater if they lived close to a casino. The chances that the respondents gambled in the past year or were frequent gamblers were greater if they lived close to a horse or dog track. The effects of closeness to a casino on the likelihood of past-year gambling, frequent gambling, and problem gambling, as well as the effect of closeness to a track on past-year gambling, extended to about 30 miles from the respondent’s home. In addition, the concentration of casinos within 30 miles of the respondent’s home was positively related to the respondents’ chance of being a frequent or problem gambler. If a respondent had no casinos within 30 miles, he or she had a 2.7 % chance of being a problem gambler; if one casino, a 3.9 % chance; if six or more, a 6.2 % chance. The authors estimate that at least part of this effect is causal.


Problem gambling Gambling availability Gambling survey 



This research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant AA018097, awarded to John W. Welte.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Welte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Grace M. Barnes
    • 2
  • Marie-Cecile O. Tidwell
    • 2
  • Joseph H. Hoffman
    • 2
  • William F. Wieczorek
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Institute on AddictionsBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Research Institute on AddictionsBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health and Social ResearchState University College of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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