The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

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UMDI leading economic research for MA gambling study

Researchers from the UMass Donahue Institute’s Economic and Public Policy Research group will work with colleagues from the UMass Amherst Department of Public Health on a comprehensive, multi-year research project commissioned by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to study both the social and economic impacts that the construction and operation of casino gambling sites will have on the state. The UMass Department of Public Health will lead the overall project, assessing the social impacts of the proposed casino facilities, while the UMass Donahue Institute will lead the economic and fiscal impact assessment. The collaborative study is part of a unique research agenda developed by the Commonwealth to not only aid in understanding the social and economic implications of casino gambling, but also to minimize possible harmful effects.

As applications for the state’s three resort casinos and one slots parlor are being developed for the MGC, the UMDI team will begin research to determine baseline economic conditions at the local, regional and state levels. Ongoing research looking at the construction and development of each facility up through its full operation will measure impact on factors such as business revenues, income, employment, tourism, government revenue, infrastructure costs, housing market and public services in the host communities and their surrounding regions.

Casino gaming is being implemented in Massachusetts partly as a means of generating jobs, boosting income and increasing state and local revenues. The ongoing monitoring of a wide range of economic and fiscal indicators and the consistent measurement of the actual effects on local communities, regions and statewide—before, during and after the casinos are built and operated— is critical to the state’s long term policy goals and economic development objectives.

“There are only a handful of institutions that carry out gambling research worldwide,” says epidemiologist Rachel Volberg, who will lead the UMass Amherst group. “With this sweeping new initiative, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will change the intellectual landscape and knowledge base about gambling over the next three to five years. Our results will be freely available to other researchers and to other state commissions. This is going to create a very important database resource for stakeholders in Massachusetts and elsewhere.”

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Hadley, Massachusetts 01035

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