Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Denise K. von Herrmann

Committee Chair Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Committee Member 2

Dr. David Butler

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Dr. Joseph St. Marie

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 4

Dr. Troy Gibson

Committee Member 4 Department

Economic and Workforce Development

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the following three interlocking areas of theory: a) casinos as economic engines; b) tourism recovery following a disaster or negative event; and, c) economic/social characteristics that facilitate recovery after disasters generally. This study examines the necessary ingredients for a speedy disaster recovery (typified in the casino industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast).

This study employs a qualitative interview design with elite interviewing to test the theory and provide evidence and context to it. With interview questions informed by Rubin’s three elements that influence the recovery process within a community (Rubin as cited in Johnson, 2007), this study utilizes a descriptive qualitative interview design to ascertain the various industry professionals’, consultants’, tourism officials’ and state regulators’ perspectives of the casino industry’s role in revitalizing the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

The findings show that an even distribution of strong leadership and a strong institutional support setting explains the recovery in Mississippi. This empirically supported principle may be applied to other disaster relief incidences, natural and otherwise. These findings are helpful to other casino locales that may wish to take steps in advance to mitigate against disasters, and to noncasino locales that are considering adding casino gaming as well.

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