The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has granted a new contract o the University of Massachusetts Amherst research team so that the group can continue researching the impact of gambling in the state. The team will be given around $1m annually for a three year time frame with the ability to renew the contract.
With the study, the research team will continue to review the industry and try to identify the positive and negative effects of gambling in the state. Additional options for gambling are being introduced, so it is important to configure how they will affect the region.
When it comes to negative impacts, the data can be used to help with any concerns regarding problem gambling. In this manner, the outcome of the study can assist in helping those with gambling issues or other problems associated with the industry. More gambling addiction programs or options for setting limits are examples of what could be added if the negative impact research calls for such changes.
The research team has finished a few investigation phases including configuring baseline conditions that were in place before the casinos were operating in the state. They have also reviewed the MGM Springfield construction, a casino that opened in the state in 2018. The Encore Boston Harbor addition has also been considered.
In the beginning, the research study was given $3.64 million in funding. With this new phase of research, the team will be looking closely at the economic and social impact of casinos that operate in the state. With data collection, researchers will be surveying people on the type of wagering they have completed in the last year and how much has been spent on gambling.
Details will also be provided on how often one gambles and other difficulties that can sometimes be associated with a gambling problem, such as mental health conditions and substance abuse.
The study requires funding to be able to pay for expenses such as the salary of the team as well as travel, supplies and other needs. The project includes six faculty members of the university a well as one graduate research assistant.
During a previous study phase, the group reviewed information from the Plainridge Park Casino. The study revealed that the rate of problem gambling did not increase but this could be due to the facility’s closeness to casinos in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The venue did bring about job opportunities for the state as well as additional economic benefits. The study found that when reviewing gaming habits of Plainridge Park and other venues in the state, that the individual spending costs of players was increasing.
The study will be interesting to review once it is completed. The casino industry of the state has grown substantially as the MGM Springfield and the Encore Boston Harbor opened for business. The Encore had a large impact on the existing casinos as it seemed to take a chunk of revenues from slots and table games of other venues.