What You Need to Know

  • Section 71 of the Gaming Act requires the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to establish “an annual research agenda” to assist in understanding the social and economic effects of casino gambling in Massachusetts and minimizing the harmful impacts of expanded gaming
  • On Thursday, June 11th, 2015, a research team from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst released a comprehensive report of findings from a large baseline population survey that assessed Massachusetts residents’ attitudes about gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related problems. Nearly 10,000 Massachusetts residents completed the survey, making it the largest and most representative gambling survey ever conducted in the United States.
  • This first-of-its-kind research project will create a monitoring system that will accomplish the following: Provide Massachusetts stakeholders with a baseline assessment of the status of gambling and other factors for strategic analysis and decision-making, Generate early detection signs of changes in social and economic impacts and Promote responsible gambling and mitigate problem gambling through strategic services

Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA)

Pursuant to Section 71 of the Expanded Gaming Act, the MGC announced on April 1, 2013 that the University of Massachusetts Amherst had been engaged to carry out a comprehensive, multi-year study of the social and economic impacts of introducing casino gambling in Massachusetts. The SEIGMA project is composed of four distinct components including Social and Health Impacts, Economic and Fiscal Impacts, Problem Gambling Services Evaluation and a Data Management Center.

As one deliverable of the ongoing research agenda, MGC is pleased to release a paper summarizing findings from the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) baseline population survey, a descriptive analysis of data from the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline, and key findings from an online focus group of mental health and substance abuse treatment providers across the state. Accompanying this data are suggested implications for strategic planners.

Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC)

MAGIC promises to be a landmark study, providing new and much needed information about incidence rates and the course of problem gambling in Massachusetts.  MAGIC will yield important and unique information leading to treatment and prevention initiatives that are tailored to the needs of the people of the Commonwealth.  Furthermore, this valuable addition to the research agenda 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; and
  • Provide guidance on ‘safe levels’ of gambling involvement.

MAGIC will be complimentary and synergistic with the SEIGMA study, with each project providing considerable information relevant to the other study’s goals.  An additional “value added” element of the MAGIC project will be scrutiny of the findings from four other longitudinal cohort studies that are presently in the final stages of analysis, to identify variables that would merit more detailed examination in the MAGIC project.  Because of direct involvement in all four of these studies by Volberg or Williams, the MAGIC team has unique access to this data.

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