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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMass: Report Updates Public Health, Economic Impacts of Casino Gambling in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ Plainridge Park Casino has created job opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed, among other economic benefits, without an increase in problem gambling, according to the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study research team led by principal investigator Dr. Rachel Volberg, Research Professor of Epidemiology in the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences.

Three new reports, which are part of the most in-depth and comprehensive investigation ever undertaken into the impact of introducing casino gambling, were recently presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The first report on the social and economic impacts from 2013 to 2018 found largely positive effects from the state’s only slot parlor. The SEIGMA team summarized some of the findings in two fact sheets on traffic and public health impacts.

No change in the rate of problem gambling was detected, likely due to a pre-existing high rate of gambling by residents at nearby casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut, in operation since the early 1990s.

The number of Plainridge Park Casino visitors has decreased each fiscal year, though the average gross gaming revenue per patron has increased by 27 percent, driving the rise in revenues.

“While the economic impacts of Plainridge Park Casino to date are clearly positive, it is somewhat concerning to see an increase in spending per patron because it suggests that a smaller number of individuals are spending more,” says Dr. Volberg. “If this increase in spending is affecting patrons’ ability to meet other financial obligations, it would suggest the need to raise awareness about the importance of keeping gambling entertaining and not spending more than one can afford.”

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