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.

In creating a research plan which would enable us to thoroughly examine the social and economic impacts of casino gambling here in Massachusetts, the MGC and SEIGMA were able to build from a firm foundation.  That foundation is a report written by Dr. Rob Williams (now on our executive team) and colleagues for the Canadian Consortium for Gambling Research, entitled “The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling.”  The report, which we informally call the SEIG Report, contains an extensive review of the existing literature on the social and economic impacts of gambling. The report also proposes a theoretical framework for future socioeconomic impact studies, which the SEIGMA study uses. Key findings from the literature review include:

  • General trends across studies
  • Key positive impacts across studies
  • Key negative impacts across studies

As the SEIGMA research team works to analyze the baseline data we have collected and produce results that describe the social and economic context of Massachusetts before gambling expansion, we wanted to direct people to the SEIG report. We think you will find it to be an excellent source for broadly understanding the social and economic impacts of casinos that other studies have found. Read the full report here.