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Profiles examine real estate challenges and opportunities in three communities targeted for casinos

Henry Renski is an associate professor of Regional Planning in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass Amherst. Thomas Peake is a Research Analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute. In this post they discuss their study of baseline real estate conditions in the three communities currently designated to host a casino in Massachusetts. 

In 2015, the UMass Donahue Institute produced a series of host community economic profiles for the cities of Everett and Springfield, Massachusetts and the town of Plainville, Massachusetts. The goal of these reports was to document the historical trends in various economic indicators prior to the opening of the casinos. The baseline real estate conditions reports now being posted are intended to serve as companions to those profiles, with a focus on past trends in residential and commercial real estate in each of the host communities and their designated surrounding communities.

The economic impacts of constructing Plainridge Park Casino

Rod Motamedi, Research Manager at the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI), and a research lead on the economic and fiscal analysis team, is an expert in the application of economic models to high-visibility issues around the U.S. and internationally. In this post he details results from his analysis of the impacts from the construction phase of Plainridge Park Casino.

Part of the motivation for exploring expanded gaming in Massachusetts was to provide new economic opportunities for the people and businesses of the Commonwealth. The UMass Donahue Institute, as part of the SEIGMA team, is tasked with measuring the economic changes that will occur as the casinos are built and open for business over the coming years. As the first step in this process, the Economic and Public Policy Research group at UMDI is releasing a paper on the economic impacts of the construction of Plainridge Park Casino.

SEIGMA Study Fact Sheets Aim to Share Results with Public Through Clear Communication

Matthew Medeiros, Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) Website Manager, details the SEIGMA project’s new fact sheet series.

One of the challenges researchers face is communicating complex research results, arrived at through highly specialized data analysis and statistics, to the general public. Our team feels it is vital to overcome this challenge, especially since SEIGMA examines the highly polarized topic of gambling, with far-reaching potential impacts in the state’s economy and public health.

That’s why the team has initiated an ongoing series, the SEIGMA Fact Sheets, which will share information on the project, and ultimately our results, in a style that is engaging, clear, and avoids overloading readers with too much technical information.

Plainridge Park Casino Patron Survey

Laurie Salame, Expert Advisor to the SEIGMA Research Team, describes the role patron surveys are playing in the study and the process the team has developed in visits to the first casino to open in the state, Plainridge Park Casino (PPC).

The SEIGMA Project is working on many exciting activities related to data collection. Our patron survey is a prime example of the ways the SEIGMA project allows experts from both the social and economic teams to work together.

As outlined in the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) research agenda, patron surveys are needed to obtain critical data pertaining to the geographic origin of revenue flowing to the new gaming venues, to assess whether patron expenditures represent a genuine influx of new wealth to the Commonwealth, and to measure the extent to which money may have been diverted from other sectors of the economy. The opening of Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) in June 2015 gave us our first opportunity to collect data from patrons here in Massachusetts.

Assessing Health Impacts of the Springfield Casino

Amanda Houpt, Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) Project Manager, details the recent Community Forum, sponsored by Partners for a Healthier Community at the Community Music School in Springfield.

On October 21, 2015, Partners for a Healthier Community invited members of the SEIGMA research team to present at a forum titled: How Will the Casino Impact the Springfield Area: Current Research on Gambling and Socioeconomic Status. We were thrilled to connect with the Western Massachusetts community at this event.

Research assistants make up vital part of data analysis for SEIGMA

Matthew Medeiros, Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) Website Manager, reports on the team of research assistants that have joined the SEIGMA team this academic year.

The SEIGMA study has many components and team members. Recently I took some time to learn more about the vital work done by the dozen UMass Amherst research assistants (RAs) who have been hard at work analyzing data for the upcoming release of SEIGMA’s baseline survey results.

Measuring the Economic Effects of Casinos on Local Areas: Applying a Community Comparison Matching Method

SEIGMA Expert Advisor Mark Nichols, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno highlights a recent white paper co-written with the UMass Donahue Institute, Economic and Public Policy Research Group

Since the inception of the SEIGMA study, we at the UMass Donahue Institute have been collecting data and refining our approach for measuring the economic and fiscal impacts of expanded gambling in Massachusetts. We recently released a white paper that provides an overview of community matching, one of the methods the SEIGMA economic and fiscal team will use to analyze the economic impacts of gaming venues in Massachusetts.

A Key Resource for Understanding Gambling Impacts

Laurie Salame, Expert Advisor to the SEIGMA Research Team, highlights a report on gambling impacts.

What are the social and economic impacts of gambling? This is a question asked by many, accurately answered by few. In a state where casino gambling is in the news daily, the desire to understand these issues is increasingly important in the minds of many Bay State citizens.

The Massachusetts legislature was also very keen to understand these impacts, which is why the current state casino law requires ongoing research into these impacts. To achieve that end, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) chose the University of Massachusetts Amherst and its partners to carefully study these impacts. This is how the SEIGMA study began.

SEIGMA on the Road: Conferences in the Gambling Research Community

Rachel Volberg, Principal Investigator on the SEIGMA study highlights recent conference visits by the team.

The University is very quiet during the summer. However, while many students and staff here are vacationing on the seashore or in the mountains, summer is conference season for the SEIGMA team.  In June, I traveled to Baltimore to present a keynote address at the Second Annual Maryland Conference on Problem Gambling whose theme was “The Impact of Gambling on Public Health.”  In addition to my talk, Dr. Timothy Fong presented on the California Gambling Education and Treatment Services (CALGETS) program; Jim Wuelfing from the MA Council on Compulsive Gambling presented on recovery-oriented services and systems of care; and Dr. Deborah Haskins presented on the importance of connecting services to communities of color.

SEIGMA's Annual Meeting

Amanda Houpt, Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) Project Manager, reports on the recent Annual Meeting of the team, held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For most Americans, mid-April marks tax season and the return of spring. For the SEIGMA Research Team, April has additional significance as the anniversary of our project’s start date. It’s hard to believe it, but just a little over one year ago, the SEIGMA study launched. The team has been a flurry of activity ever since. To commemorate the one year anniversary of the project, we held a three-day meeting on April 14-16. Expert advisors, principal investigators, team members, and members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission convened in Western Massachusetts to update each other on progress made, collaborate, and plan for the next year.

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