Kansas HIA Report: Potential Health Effects of Casino Development in Southeast Kansas

5 | Community Health, Health Impact Assessment, Public Health Systems and Services

A health impact assessment is an informational tool designed to help decision-makers consider the health implications of proposed policies, especially those that don’t appear to have direct connections to health.

The Kansas Health Institute recently completed its first health impact assessment, which examined the potential health effects associated with casino development in Southeast Kansas. This new report features findings of the health impact assessment and outlines recommendations to maximize the positive health benefits of a proposed casino and mitigate its potential negative effects on health.

Among the key HIA findings:

  • Potential positive health effects of casino development are primarily related to creation of casino jobs as well as other leisure and hospitality sector jobs, which provide tangible benefits, such as income and insurance, and intangible benefits, such as sense of meaning. Employment, insurance and income have strong, positive links to health.
  • Potential negative health impacts primarily would result from increased access to gambling. In particular, the number of pathological and problem gamblers could increase. Adverse health consequences of pathological gambling include nicotine dependence, substance use, depression and insomnia. Additionally, pathological gambling has been associated with higher rates of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, unsafe sex and divorce.

Because one of the project goals was to introduce Kansas policymakers to the field of health impact assessments, KHI also produced an issue brief explaining how policymakers can use health impact assessments to bring health into the state and local decision-making processes.

KHI plans several other health impact assessments in the coming months on new topics, including a public transit proposal in Wichita.

This HIA was funded by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Impact Project, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Media coverage

What are the health impacts of casino development? (InnovationTrail, 5/13/2013)


Will (William Poling)November 21, 2012 at 3:18 p.m.

We should focus studies on things that affect more than .001 of the population.
This study looks like somebody's cousin created a job for them.

tlin (Tatiana Lin)December 3, 2012 at 1:31 p.m.

Although this HIA study focused on the Southeast Kansas Gaming Zone — which has a population of 60,605 people — many of the study's findings are applicable to the rest of the state, which has eight casinos.

The findings are also being used at the national and international level. We did not expect such a broad audience when we started the HIA, but it turns out that this subject is applicable in many U.S. states and Canada.

Thank you for leaving your comment and starting a discussion.

Will (William Poling)December 29, 2012 at 10:38 p.m.

Hi Tatiana !
So much good can come from gambling if put in the right hands. Excluding the reservations,is gambling in the right hands in Kansas? Not if the State isn't reaping major benefits it isn't. If the gambling industry in Kansas cannot spread to rest of Kansas Old West towns,then it isn't in the right or possibly not even legit hands. I would study that first.

Not only was I an instrument to help Colorado get gaming legalized, I also worked in Cripple Creek Colorado for ten years as a slot technician.
That job involves up close and personal contact with normal customers and became friends with many locals that were supposedly "impacted".
Well there just wasn't any impact. Just like there is and was no voter fraud in Kansas, it too is for real.
Nothing but good came out of it because a large portion of the gambling taxes were taken out for the improvement of the local area,including environmental clean up from mining impact.
A larger portion went to all Colorado schools and state parks. They even ended sales tax on food because of gambling revenues.
Perhaps if Kansas quit the "Papa Gambino" approach to gambling and was not so greedy and spread the taxes out appropriately, Kansas could prosper from gambling. Not the monopolized corporate industry it is now. First to the local community's and then to the good of the state. Maybe even end food sales tax for Kansans. That is gambling impact in the right hands.
If there is that much gambling in Kansas, where are those taxes going?
That would make a great and worthy study. That is to prove where they go. And not just say so.
But what I would ask you to study if it was up to me would be:
Why isn't gambling legalized in historic gambling towns across Kansas. Gambling was legal at one time in some Western Towns like Dodge for instance. They should consist of many small private casinos instead of the race track monopolies which which gives one the mafia run feel instead of the fun of the Old West. Spreading gambling and tourist funds across the state with gambling taxes to be shared by all. There is no reason legal gambling should only take place at race tracks and reservations.
Study Colorado. They have many new ideas for Kansans to become prosperous instead of cut to the quick by the delusional Presidential ambitions of our oh so confused Governor.

Will (William Poling)December 30, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.

Imho, as health officials, you could better serve Kansas by studying how and why committing Gov. Brownback and Kris Kobach is the best action to take for Kansans best interest.

philcauthon (Phil Cauthon)May 16, 2013 at 10:37 a.m.

InnovationTrail — an NPR affiliate in New York — asks "What are the health impacts of casino development?"

Senior analyst Tatiana Lin and analyst Cat Shoults help answer the question in this story, which draws on our Kansas HIA Report:


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