The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Pursues Further Study of Gambling Behavior for Special Populations in Massachusetts

Today the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to conduct a study of gambling behavior and possible impacts of the introduction of casinos on population subgroups in Massachusetts to build upon the initial “Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts: Results of a Baseline Population Survey” that was released in 2015. In 2013, MGC engaged a research team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to perform a comprehensive study of the economic and social impacts of the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts, with particular emphasis on problem gambling. The initial baseline study identified several potential populations and subgroups that warrant further investigation.

“It is our hope that this study will add to existing information about special populations that have been traditionally under-studied, yet remain vulnerable to problem gambling and other addictions,” said MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming Mark Vander Linden. “This valuable research will inform more effective prevention and intervention strategies in collaboration with the Mass Department of Public Health and other partners.”

Based on findings from the General Population Baseline Survey and other research, the MGC identified five subgroups that warrant additional study to assess potential risks for experiencing gambling problems in Massachusetts. These groups include: Veterans, African American/Black, Immigrants, Asians and Hispanics.

The Gaming Act requires that the MGC establish an “annual research agenda” in order to understand the social and economic effects impacts of expanding gaming and to obtain scientific information relative to the neuroscience, psychology, sociology, epidemiology and etiology of gambling. This additional research will align and build on existing MGC research efforts to assure the project is complementary and non-duplicative.

MGC has an initial budget of $100,000 for this project. The RFP is located on CommBuys BD-17-1068-1068C-1068L-13699, and responses are due by April 7, 2017.

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