SPHHS research team launches MA gambling study website

November 27, 2013

From left: Amanda Houpt, SEIGMA Project Manager; Rachel Volberg, SEIGMA Principal Investigator; and Mark Vander Linden, MGC Director of Research and Problem Gambling present the website at the MGC meeting on Nov. 7, 2013. (Image Courtesy Massachusetts Gaming Commission)

The Social and Economic Impact of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) research team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was pleased to announce the recent launch of their website at a November 7, 2013 meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in Boston.

The SEIGMA project began in April 2013, when the MGC engaged a research team based in the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences to undertake a comprehensive research project on the economic and social impacts of the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts, with particular emphasis on problem gambling. The SEIGMA team presented their new website to the MGC at their weekly meeting.

Mark Vander Linden, the MGC’s Director of Research and Problem Gambling, is enthusiastic about the website. An important goal of the SEIGMA project, as underscored by the MGC, is to share information and research results with a variety of constituents, from interested citizens, to governmental agencies and officials, to other national and international researchers. Vander Linden states that “SEIGMA has been a great partner to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as we develop a world-class research agenda.  We want the research and results to be easily accessible and reach a broad audience.  The new SEIGMA website will do just that.”

UMass’s Rachel Volberg, Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology and a SEIGMA team principal investigator, notes that “This dynamic and ever-changing site offers details about our researchers and the myriad of activities associated with the project.” Other helpful information on the site includes links to selected news stories, publications, and resources. “This allows those entering the site to stay up-to-date not just on our project, but on a host of issues related to the status of gambling in Massachusetts,” Volberg adds.

The MGC has a broad research agenda, which includes creating a monitoring system that will provide Massachusetts stakeholders with a baseline assessment of the status of gambling and other factors for strategic analysis and decision-making, generate early detection signs of changes in social and economic impacts, and promote responsible gambling and mitigate problem gambling through strategic service development. The UMass School of Public Health & Health Sciences enlisted key partners in carrying this agenda forward, including team members from: UMass Donahue Institute; UMass Isenberg School of Management, Dept. of Hospitality & Tourism Management; the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; University of Nevada, Reno; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Science, Technology, and Society; NORC at the University of Chicago; Ipsos; and Market Street Research.

For more information about the SEIGMA project and/or website, please contact Amanda Houpt, SEIGMA Project Manager, at ahoupt@schoolph.umass.edu. For more information regarding the MGC’s Research Agenda, click here.

A video by the MGC announcing the new SEIGMA website. (Courtesy Massachusetts Gaming Commission)