The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2018 Publication Archive

Social and Economic Impacts of Expanded Gambling in Massachusetts: 2018, September 18, 2018

Report to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission & the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

From the report's Executive Summary:

Casino gambling was legalized in Massachusetts in 2011. To date, one slot parlor—Plainridge Park Casino—has opened in 2015 and two casinos are being built—MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor—with tentative opening dates of August 2018 and June 2019 respectively. In 2013, a contract was awarded to the authors of the present report to investigate the impacts of these new facilities. This investigation is known as the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study, and it constitutes the most in-depth and comprehensive investigation of the impacts of introducing casino gambling ever undertaken.

Extensive primary and secondary data have been collected to inform these impacts. The present report is the first in a series of reports that will document changes in the social and economic landscape in Massachusetts that can potentially be attributed to the introduction of these new gambling venues. It is important to recognize that the impacts of casino gambling in Massachusetts in 2018 are likely not reflective of the impacts that will be seen in future years. This is because the only significant changes that have occurred to date are the construction impacts of building the three facilities as well as the opening of the Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) (the smallest of the three new venues) in June 2015. Indeed, other than the very clear revenue, employment, and spending of PPC, there is little evidence of marked socioeconomic changes to date in Massachusetts that can be attributed to gambling. However, the purpose of the present report is not just to report impacts to date, but also to a) provide comprehensive documentation of baseline social and economic indices; b) integrate findings from our various standalone social and economic reports in the last four years; c) crystallize the template for reporting future impacts; and d) identify gaps in our analyses to be addressed in future work. 

By: Rachel Volberg, Robert Williams, Mark Melnik


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