What You Need to Know

Section 71 of the Expanded Gaming Act requires the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to establish “an annual research agenda” to assist policymakers, media, the public, and broader research community in understanding the social and economic effects of casino gambling in Massachusetts.

Research Goals:
  • Understand the social and economic effects of expanded gambling and use findings to inform evidence-based policy and regulation
  • Obtain scientific information relative to the neuroscience, psychology, sociology, epidemiology and etiology of gambling
  • Inform best practice strategies and methods for responsible gaming and problem gambling treatment and prevention
  • Evaluate all responsible gaming initiatives developed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Research Projects

Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA)

In 2013, the Commission engaged a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to conduct a comprehensive, multi-year study of the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) to understand the impacts of expanded gaming in the State. The study established baselines for all social and economic variables that may be affected by expanded gaming. The research team will collect, analyze and report each year to identify the actual impacts, which will provide key information to policy makers.

Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC)

MGC is collaborating with the same University of Massachusetts Amherst team to conduct a longitudinal cohort study which promises to provide new and much needed information about problem gambling incidence rates and behavioral trajectory.  Known as MAGIC, this landmark study will yield important information leading to treatment and prevention initiatives that are tailored to the needs of the people of the Commonwealth. Specifically, this valuable research will:

  • Establish the raw number of new problem gamblers each year (necessary for resource allocation)
  • Identify the variables of greatest etiological importance in the development of and remission from problem gambling
  • Determine whether proportionally more resources should be put into prevention or treatment.

Social Impact Reports

Gambling and Problem Gambling

The 2015 “BPGS” report summarizes findings from a large baseline population survey of 9,578 Massachusetts residents to assess gambling behavior and problem gambling before any of the state’s new casinos become operational.

In 2013/2014, a general population survey of 9,578 Massachusetts adults was conducted with results reported in Volberg et al. (2015). The present report is a follow-up to this. Whereas Volberg et al. (2015) provided a description of the characteristics of nongamblers, recreational gamblers, at-risk gamblers, and problem gamblers, the present report focuses on identifying the univariate and multivariate predictors of membership in these groups.

The SEIGMA “BOPS” report summarizes the results of a baseline online panel survey, which recruited a significantly larger number of problem gamblers than could be obtained in a general population survey.

The White Paper summarizes descriptive statistics from the baseline population survey, a descriptive analysis of data from a problem gambling helpline, and key findings from an online focus group made up of statewide mental health and substance abuse treatment providers.

Host Community Profiles

These reports, by the Economic and Public Policy research group at the UMass Donahue Institute, present economic profiles of casino host communities to provide baseline economic conditions within, before the introduction of casinos. The information illustrates recent trends and conditions within the city or town’s industrial structure, business community, labor force and residential population. These profile data will be updated after casinos are introduced in order to track economic changes over time.

Public Safety

In 2014, the MGC contracted with a career crime analyst, Christopher Bruce, to extract data from the agencies likely to be affected by the opening of Plainridge Park in Plainville; to prepare a baseline analysis of public safety activity in the Plainville area for the past 5 years; and to design a process for assessing changes on a bi-annual basis after the opening of Plainridge Park.

In August 2015, MGC released a report of “baseline” statistics for the Plainville area agencies, with annual totals of the types of crimes, calls for service, and collision data against which post‐casino periods would be compared.

In April 2016, MGC released a report covering the first six months of casino operations. The report was based on somewhat limited data, and comparison data from other communities was not yet available.

In December 2016, MGC released a report summarizing a full year (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) of changes in crime, calls for service, and collisions. It, in most cases comparing activity to the same period in previous years and in other communities. The annual report offers both general statistics and detailed analysis of observed changes.

Economic Impact Reports

Construction

Research conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute details the economic impact of the Plainridge Park Casino construction. Findings show that 99% of $13.3 million of preconstruction spending and 85% of the $115.4 million of construction spending went to Massachusetts-based businesses. Construction created or supported an average of 558 full-time equivalent jobs and $46 million of wages per year over 2014 and 2015.

Employment

The UMass Donahue Institute released a compilation of results from two years of new employee questionnaires collected at Plainridge Park Casino. This report is the latest in a series of studies focused on the economic impacts of the gaming industry in the Commonwealth.

Lottery

The 2017 Lottery Revenue report released by the Economic and Public Policy research group at the UMass Donahue Institute shows that lottery sales have not decreased statewide, nor near Plainridge Park Casino, during the first year after the facility opened in June 2015.

Real Estate

These reports, by the Economic and Public Policy research group at the UMass Donahue Institute, present the economic profile of each host community to provide information on baseline economic conditions within Springfield before the introduction of casinos.

Evaluation Reports

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has contracted with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, to provide an evaluation its responsible gaming initiatives.

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