Gambling Outlets & Crime

This research has been supported by British Academy Small Research Grant (£7,119): “Understanding the Ecology of Disadvantage: Betting Agents, Crime and the British Neighbourhood”.

Demireva, N. and Iacono, S. (in preparation) “Gambling Outlets as Agents of Local Area Disorganization: Crime and Local Institutions, the Case of the UK”

Several papers, together with Dr. Sergio Lo Iacono, are currently under review from this project. Drawing on two major criminological theories, routine activities theory and social disorganization theory, this study examines the association of gambling outlets in England and Wales with various crime outcomes. Using data from the ONS, the UK Census, the UK Police Street-level Crime Dataset, and the POI Ordnance Survey, we analyse the association between gambling outlets and crime events across England and Wales, drawing on the previous literature and expanding on it in several ways. First, we consider various types of crime and distinguish between anti-social behaviour, interpersonal crimes (such as violent crimes and theft), burglaries, property damage and vehicle theft. Second, we explore the possibility of a heterogenous effect dependent upon the level of deprivation and residential stability in an area. While renters are supposed to be relatively transient, homeowners should provide heightened levels of guardianship in a neighbourhood. Small shop owners can also act to preserve the well-being and the positive character of a local area. Gambling outlets are significantly and positively associated with different types of crime even when controlling for other businesses, the areas’ demographic and socio-economic characteristics. Small businesses provide distinctive shielding effects – in areas of high density of small business owners, there is no significant correlation between crime types and gambling density. Our results have significant policy implications for the well-being of local communities.