Casino study: Town not caught in vice
A new study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that social and economic impacts of casino gambling are not as bad as what people think they would be.
“At the state level, there is no compelling evidence that negative impacts related to problem gambling have increased as a result of casino introduction,” said lead researcher Rachel Volberg.
Bankruptcy, divorce, restraining orders and cases of child welfare are “related indicators to problem gambling,” she said.
Volberg and her team conducted the study surrounding the introduction of Plainridge Park Casino, which opened in 2015, on the socioeconomic impacts the casino would bring to surrounding neighborhoods.
Researchers found that there is “no evidence that the introduction of casino gambling has had any impact on crime rates” on the statewide level.
Locally, however, the UMass Amherst researchers note there has been an increase in credit card fraud, lost property, reports of suspicious activity and traffic complaints in the town of Plainville that “can likely be attributed” to the casino.
“There has been a significant change in both statewide and regional attitudes towards gambling that likely reflects greater satisfaction with the current gambling landscape,” researchers found.
MGM Springfield opened its doors last summer and Encore Boston Harbor is expected to open June 2019. Both casinos will be part of the university’s future gambling studies.