Institutional anomie theory and gambling-related crime : An empirical test in Macau

Mengliang DAI*, Xiaoyu ZHUANG, Ting Kin NG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


To date, scholars have rarely applied institutional anomie theory to gambling-related crime. Using time series data on the rates of illegal gambling, money laundering, organised crime, and drug-related crime, as well as various indicators of the economy and noneconomic social institutions, this study tested the applicability of institutional anomie theory to gambling-related crime. The study found that unemployment positively related to organised crime and drug-related crime. GDP per capita is positively associated with illegal gambling crime, organised crime, and drug-related crime. However, all social institutional variables failed to predict gambling-related crime. Moreover, for the interaction effects, this finding also provided limited and mixed support for the theory. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-358
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Criminology
Issue number2-3
Early online date7 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

The authors express their gratitude to Professor Jianhong Liu for providing valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper, as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback on the manuscript.

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Guangdong Youth and Adolescence Research Fund, Guangdong Social Science Research Fund (grant number 2021WT013, GD22XSH02).


  • Institutional anomie theory
  • social institutions
  • interaction effect
  • gambling-related crime
  • Macau


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