SEIGMA Team Releases Most Comprehensive Report on Impacts of Casinos Ever Undertaken and One-Page “Fact Sheets”

The following is a press release from the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) team:

The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) team has officially released the Social and Economic Impacts of Expanded Gambling in Massachusetts: 2018 report, which constitutes the most in-depth and comprehensive investigation of the impacts of introducing casino gambling ever undertaken.

Dr. Rachel Volberg, Principal Investigator of the SEIGMA study, comments, “No other jurisdiction has undertaken such a comprehensive study prior to introducing casino gambling, and none has worked to collect social and economic indicators as the casinos became operational. This inaugural report is an important resource for stakeholders in Massachusetts and elsewhere to understand the impacts of expanded gambling and work to maximize the benefits and minimize and mitigate the negative impacts.”

Speaking to the groundbreaking nature of the SEIGMA research agenda, Dr. Robert Williams, Co-Principal Investigator of the SEIGMA study, states, “This is a landmark research endeavor that will forever put Massachusetts in the forefront of gambling research and gambling policy.”

“This new report highlights the comprehensive nature of our casino research agenda and will serve as a model for future reports as Springfield and Everett go in to full swing,” said Dr. Mark Melnik, director of Economic & Public Policy Research at UMass Donahue Institute. “It is the goal of our research to provide a deep analysis of all of the various elements related to expanded gaming and to help inform the public and policy makers on this important and emerging sector in the Massachusetts economy.”

Beginning in 2013, the SEIGMA team has collected extensive baseline and follow-up data on the social and economic changes in Massachusetts related to the introduction of casino gambling. This compendium report—a summary of impacts that have been observed as of July 2018—is SEIGMA’s first in a series of reports that will analyze the changes in Massachusetts’ social and economic landscape after the introduction of new gambling venues. At the time of writing, the only significant changes that have occurred are the construction impacts of building three facilities as well as the opening of Plainridge Park Casino (PPC)—the smallest of the three new venues—in June 2015. Other than the very clear revenue, employment, and spending of PPC, there is little evidence of marked social or economic changes to date in Massachusetts that can be attributed to gambling.

The limited social impacts are likely due to the characteristics of PPC as a venue and the availability of gambling in neighboring states preceding PPC. It is also the case that the impacts of casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2018 are likely not reflective of future social and economic impacts that the SEIGMA team will examine with the larger casino developments in Massachusetts—MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.

The SEIGMA team has also released 10 Fact Sheets, which are one-page briefings that summarize findings of the social and economic impacts of expanded gambling in the Commonwealth. The Fact Sheets include coverage of the:

  1. Introduction of Casinos to Massachusetts
  2. SEIGMA team
  3. Gambling Participation in Massachusetts
  4. Plainridge Park Casino and the Recapture of Gambling Dollars
  5. Casino Employees at Plainridge Park Casino
  6. Gambling Attitudes of Massachusetts Residents
  7. Economic Impacts of Plainridge Park Casino
  8. Impact of Plainridge Park Casino on Lottery Sales
  9. Gambling Harm in Massachusetts
  10. Gambling Behavior Transitions of Massachusetts Residents

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The SEIGMA project fulfills Section 71 of the 2011 Expanded Gaming Act, which requires the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to establish “an annual research agenda” to assist in understanding the social and economic effects of the introduction of casino gambling in MA, and in making annual scientifically-based recommendations to the Legislature. For more information, www.umass.edu/seigma/.

Responsible for SEIGMA’s economic and fiscal impact research, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute is an outreach and economic development arm of the University of Massachusetts President’s Office. Established in 1971, the Institute strives to connect its clients with the resources of the University, bridging theory and innovation with real world public and private sector applications. For more information: www.donahue.umassp.edu.

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