UNLV Center for Gaming Research's latest Eadington Fellow, Kim Manh, will present “The Determinants of Gaming Policy Diffusion & Expansion” at 2 p.m. Dec. 13. at Lied Library. Here, Mahn offers a preview of his talk, which is free and open to the public.
Casino gaming acceptance has been trending upwards since the 1980s. A Gallup poll conducted in 2016 showed that gambling was found as morally acceptable by a record high percentage of all Americans. This includes within partisan subgroups, with acceptability rates at:
- Democrats at 74%
- Independents at 66%
- Republicans at 63%.
From 2000 to 2015, the number of states with commercial gaming grew from 15 to 25. In addition to initial legalization, other states chose to expand gaming policy that was already in place.
Given the growth of public support throughout the country and across political subgroups, this second wave of commercial gaming expansion is far from surprising. However, there remains a fair amount of variation on the timing in which gambling expansion policies have been adopted. What accounts for this variation? In other words, what factors influence the expansion and pace of expansion of gaming rights.
My presentation will be on research analyzing historically significant variables impactful to the adoption of gaming policy. The role of democratic mechanisms, the presence of industry subgroups, political ideology, competition factors, and whole host of other variables have been attributed to pushing for or pulling against the expansion of gaming rights in both commercial and tribal arenas.
Using the resources available at UNLV Special Collections, in particular the Eugene Martin Christiansen Papers (a collection of consultant research files spanning almost 70 years), I look for insight into motivations and views of industry players that provide evidence for, or perhaps challenge the theoretical assumptions of, how gaming policy diffuses throughout the states.
I’m also researching the Katherine Spilde Papers, a massive collection of work on Native American Gaming, in order to study the spread of tribal gaming and how that process compares to commercial gaming.
Together these collections afford me the opportunity to create a comprehensive model of gaming policy diffusion.
About Kim Manh
Kim Manh is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Houston, where he earned his master’s degree in 2017. He completed his undergraduate work at Texas A&M University, where he was a President’s Endowed Scholar. His research interests include public policy, policy diffusion, inequality, and immigration. Most recently, he presented his work, “How the House Always Wins: The Impact of Democratic Mechanisms on State Casino Gambling Expansion” at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting.