The Impact of Casinos on Cultural Identity

The cultural identity impact of casinos on tribes and those living on their reservations is often debated. Some worry about gambling addiction or abuse, while others worry that materialism will replace traditional values.

No matter one’s opinion, it is clear that Indian gambling is shaping public perceptions and self-perceptions in profound ways. It has given some Indians unprecedented economic, political, and legal power since colonialism.


Gambling can have a significant effect on your cultural identity. It may help relieve stress and boredom, foster social interaction, or improve financial circumstances for families. Unfortunately, it also has its drawbacks.

In addition to these benefits, casinos can negatively impact a person’s cultural identity by depriving them of culturally appropriate social and recreational activities. This explains why Asian immigrants often struggle with problem gambling and difficulty integrating into American society.

Our qualitative study involved forty interviews with members of the Chinese and Khmer immigrant communities in Greater Boston. Interviewees identified poverty and stress as major causes of problem gambling within their families.


Cultural identity and its effects on values and behavior are an often-overlooked topic. But this relationship between casinos and people has far-reaching repercussions, both personally and within society at large.

Entertainment has been around for millennia, evolving from clowns at birthday parties to Broadway shows and stadium rock concerts – not forgetting your friends fighting over the last potato chip! All types of entertainment differ, yet they all manage to capture and sustain an audience’s attention and interest.

The entertainment industry has a significant impact on many cultures, as it shapes films, television shows, music and other products. The United States is an influential producer and exporter of these goods with global reach.


Socialization is the process in which an individual’s standards, skills, motives, attitudes and behaviors change to match those deemed desirable and appropriate for his or her present and future role in society. It is influenced by many agents such as family, peers, mass media outlets, schools and religious institutions.

Socialization’s primary purpose is to help individuals develop a conscience, which controls their impulses and teaches them responsibility for their decisions. It also prepares them for certain social roles such as marriage or parenting.

Socialization provides people with the capacity to identify shared sources of meaning and value within a society, which they can then apply when joining another group.

Tribal members were generally positive about the effect of casinos on their health, both distantly through improved tribal cash flow and close up through job creation. However, they also raised concerns about occupational hazards and feelings of cultural identity loss as the casino environment has become more materialistic.


Identity refers to an individual’s sense of self and belonging within a group. This can encompass ethnicity, gender, nationality, language spoken, or social status.

People often transition their identities as they grow older. For instance, an African visiting the United States may decide to identify as American during their teenage years but then switch back to an African identity during college or graduate school.

Cultural identity can offer individuals a sense of purpose, social support and self-worth that may help them cope with stress or trauma. Unfortunately, it could also have negative consequences.

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