What are the economic impacts of casinos in MA? The Patron and License Plate Survey Report offers insight

 Alissa Mazar, SEIGMA's project manager, details SEIGMA’s recently released “Patron and License Plate Survey Report: Plainridge Park Casino 2016,” which is a key component to understanding the social and economic impacts of casinos in the Commonwealth.

In 2016, the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) research team conducted a patron survey at Massachusetts’ first casino, Plainridge Park Casino (PPC). Laurie Salame, senior lecturer at UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management and an expert advisor to the study, led the survey and is the report’s lead author. Concerning patron surveys, this effort is first-of-its-kind due to its rigorous method to attain a sample of PPC patronage as representative as possible while using sophisticated weighting techniques to account for response bias.

The Patron and License Plate Survey Report sheds light on the economic impacts of casinos in Massachusetts. Rachel Volberg, SEIGMA’s Principal Investigator, comments on the importance of the Patron Survey, saying, “The survey is a tool that allows us to collect data from patrons about where they come from and how much they spend, which is important for understanding the economic impacts of the casino.” Findings from the Patron and License Plate Survey Report were essential in informing the economic model and findings detailed in a separate report, titled Plainridge Park Casino First Year of Operation: Economic Impacts Report, which was released in early October 2017. Commenting on the importance of the Patron Survey and how it informed understandings of economic impact, Mark Melnik, Director of UMass Donahue Institute’s Economic & Public Policy Research group and a lead researcher on the SEIGMA team, states, “The Patron Survey allowed for insights into the economic impacts of PPC which would have otherwise been impossible.”

The majority of PPC patrons were from Massachusetts, with 11.4 percent from Plainville or nearby towns and another 66.5 percent from other Massachusetts communities. Overall, 19.2 percent of patrons were from outside the Commonwealth. Nearly 90 percent of PPC patrons had visited casinos in other jurisdictions in the past year, with the majority visiting casinos in Connecticut (72.3 percent) and Rhode Island (55.9 percent). The SEIGMA team estimates that over half of all gambling spending (58.3 percent) and non-gambling spending (50.4 percent) by Massachusetts patrons at PPC was “recaptured” (read: patrons who would otherwise have spent their dollars at an out-of-state casino). An additional 16.3 percent of gambling spending by Massachusetts residents was “reallocated” from other goods and services in the Commonwealth.

To read the full report, click here