What You Need to Know
The Expanded Gaming Act requires MGC to establish “an annual research agenda” to understand the social and economic effects of casino gambling in Massachusetts.
- 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
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.
SEIGMA Social Impact Reports
Gambling and Problem Gambling
The 2017 “BPGS” report summarizes findings from the 2013/2014 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.
- Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts – Results of a Baseline Study 10.26.17 | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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.
SEIGMA Economic Impact Reports
The SEIGMA team released its first patron and license plate survey, conducted in 2016 at Plainridge Park Casino. Rachel Volberg, professor of epidemiology at UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences and a lead SEIGMA researcher, says, “The survey is a tool that allows us to collect data from patrons about where they come from and how much they spend, which is important for understanding the economic impacts of the casino.”
Operations Period Impacts
The UMass Donahue Institute released an analysis of the impacts from Plainridge Park Casino’s first year of operation. The Institute worked directly with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Plainridge Park Casino to determine the economic footprint of PPC’s operations, including employment, wages, vendor spending, and fiscal impacts from taxes and other assessments paid to government. Researchers also analyzed how shifts in patron spending as a result of gaming expansion affected the state.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Host Community Economic Profile: Everett 10.20.15
- Host Community Economic Profile: Plainville 10.20.15
- Host Community Economic Profile: Springfield 10.20.15
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.
- Baseline Real Estate Conditions: Springfield – 10.30.16
- Baseline Real Estate Conditions: Everett – 10.30.16
- Baseline Real Estate Conditions: Plainville – 10.30.16
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.
On January 10, 2018, MAGIC researchers released a baseline study on gambling behavior in Massachusetts that establishes how people participated – or not – in gambling prior to the opening of any casinos. The study is based on analyses of 3,096 Massachusetts residents who completed the SEIGMA baseline study of self-reported past-year gambling behaviors in Wave 1 in 2013/2014 and Wave 2 in 2015. The researchers observed a statistically significant increase in overall gambling participation as well as in participation in casino gambling and horse race betting within the cohort between Wave 1 and Wave 2. They also report a statistically significant increase in the cohort in the average number of gambling formats engaged in over the previous 12 months. However, in all cases this increase was “quite small,” they note, between 2 and 3.2 percent.
Public Safety Impacts
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.
In March 2018, MGC received an update to the Public Safety Impact Report. The two-year analysis continues to indicate that incidents occurring at PPC are proportionate with expected totals at similar facilities that draw a significant number of people, have a large parking area, offer retail, entertainment, and dining options, and serve alcohol. The types of calls for service to increase are those highly correlated with the numbers of cars and visitors to a community, such as traffic issues and reports of lost property and suspicious activity.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has contracted with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, to provide an evaluation its responsible gaming initiatives.