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For Amusement Only: The Availability and Distribution of Simulated Slot Machines in an Urban Center

Patrick F. McArdle, Lauren Levy, J. Kathleen Tracy


The first casino with slot machines in Baltimore City opened in August of 2014. Slot machines have been available in Baltimore City for years, however, under the euphemism “For Amusement Only.” Since 2011, Baltimore City has granted licenses for “simulated slot machines” under the condition that the machines not pay out winnings to the players. In this report, we investigate the number and geospatial patterns of these licensed simulated slot machines. The number of machines began decreasing prior to the opening of the new casino, dropping by as much as 50% over 7 years. These machines tend to be in low-income White neighborhoods and are positively correlated with property crime rates. Understanding the historical context of slot machine play in Baltimore City is important for investigating the impact of the introduction of state-sanctioned slot play in an urban environment.


Slot machines; geospatial modeling; cultural differences; state sanctioning

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