The University of Massachusetts Amherst


SEIGMA research featured in BMC Public Health: Gambling behavior strongly related to social network's level of gambling

Alissa Mazar, SEIGMA's project manager, summarizes the SEIGMA team’s most recent contribution to the field of public health in the journal BMC Public Health“The importance of friends and family to recreational gambling, at-risk gambling, and problem gambling.” 

Gallup and SEIGMA both find a strong majority agree that gambling is morally acceptable

Based on Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs Social Series, "69 percent of Americans say gambling is morally acceptable [in 2018], a four percentage-point increase from last year and the highest level of acceptance in the 16 years Gallup has asked the question." Compared to the nation, the SEIGMA team, using the Baseline General Population Survey of Massachusetts, found that 82.4 percent of the Massachusetts adult population did not believe gambling was morally wrong and only 17.3 percent considered gambling immoral in 2013-2014. Indeed, compared to the nation, more Massachusetts residents feel that gambling is morally acceptable.

SEIGMA-UMass Donahue Institute analyze the impacts of casino expansion on the MA Lottery

Mark Nichols, PhD—professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno—has twenty years of experience analyzing the social and economic impacts of casinos. Working with the SEIGMA economics team at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, Dr. Nichols has completed an analysis of the effects of Plainridge Park Casino on the Massachusetts Lottery, titled “Lottery Revenue and Plainridge Park Casino: Analysis After Two Years of Casino Operation.”

Statewide and nationally, there is concern that the introduction of casinos will impact lottery sales. In Massachusetts, we are in the fortunate and unique position of having detailed sales data from the Massachusetts Lottery. This allows us to assess the impact of casino gambling on lottery sales over time and at different levels of resolution (i.e., in host and surrounding communities, different driving distances, different regions, patron origination cities, and statewide).

Following the opening of Plainridge Park Casino in June 2015, the present analysis shows there is no significant negative impact on lottery sales that can be attributed to the casino. In the first year of operation, sales closer to the casino grew more slowly.  While these sales declined in the second year of casino operation, they remain unchanged when including sales in Plainville and Plainridge Park Casino together. We will continue to monitor lottery sales to determine if the first two years of results reflect longer term trends and whether the much larger casinos planned for Everett and Springfield will have similar or different impacts on lottery sales in the Commonwealth.


SEIGMA Launches MASS-AT-A-GLANCE—An interactive app of social and economic trends in MA communities

Valerie Evans, a Biostatistician on the SEIGMA project, is currently managing the development of interactive web applications.

The SEIGMA team is excited to introduce MASS-AT-A-GLANCE, a user-friendly platform which provides users with an interactive way of exploring Massachusetts data on selected social and economic variables.  MASS-AT-A-GLANCE currently contains data on demographics (age, race, gender, ethnicity, population), social variables (marital status, educational attainment, veterans status, suicide rates, English language learners, students with disabilities), and economic variables (household income, poverty rates, employment, unemployment, bankruptcy, rent, building permits). Users can explore state-wide data or opt to focus on data in a specific municipality.

SEIGMA releases findings on the first major cohort study of gambling in the US: The Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study

Alissa Mazar, SEIGMA’s project manager, explains the recently released “Analysis of MAGIC Wave 2: Incidence and Transitions,” which provides insights into changes in gambling participation and problem gambling incidence prior to the opening of casinos in the Commonwealth.

The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) research team has released a report on the first major adult cohort study of gambling conducted in the United States. By surveying the same individuals over time, cohort studies provide information on how gambling and problem gambling develops, progresses, and remits. This has significant value as it can highlight risk and protective factors important in developing effective prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services. 

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.


Economic Impact Report of Plainridge Park Casino's First Year of Operation

Thomas Peake, Research Analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute (UMDI), and a researcher on the economic and fiscal analysis team, has spent the last three years developing models to assess the economic impacts of expanded gaming in Massachusetts. In this post, Peake details results from his analysis of the impacts from Plainridge Park Casino’s (PPC) first year of operation.

Gambling intensity and formats matter most, Volberg and co-authors find

Alissa Mazar, SEIGMA's project manager, summarizes Volberg and co-authors' most recent contribution to the gambling literature, “Forms of gambling, gambling involvement, and problem gambling: Evidence from a Swedish population survey.” 

Dr. Rachel Volberg, the Principal Investigator of the SEIGMA study, has recently published “Forms of gambling, gambling involvement, and problem gambling: Evidence from a Swedish population survey” in International Gambling Studies. Working in collaboration with colleagues from Sweden, Volberg’s article makes a distinct contribution to the gambling literature by teasing out how participating in specific forms of gambling, the number of gambling formats, and intensity (i.e., time and money spent) relate to problem gambling.

SEIGMA-MAGIC Annual Meeting

Alissa Mazar, the Project Manager of SEIGMA-MAGIC, shares her first experience at the 2017 SEIGMA-MAGIC Annual Meeting.
I could use many words to describe my first experience at the SEIGMA-MAGIC Annual Meeting. A few come to mind: thought provoking, motivating, engaging, and cutting-edge. Personally, however, the most accurate word to capture my experience is ‘humbling.’ As the new project manager on this first of its kind study on the social and economic impacts of expanded gambling, I came to see, first-hand, what the minds of the SEIGMA-MAGIC team do.

Working at Plainridge Park Casino: Examining the First Two Years of Operation

University of Massachusetts Amherst Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in MA (SEIGMA)Andrew Hall, M.P.A., M.A., is a research analyst at the UMass Donahue Institute where he serves as a member of the economic and fiscal analysis team for the SEIGMA project.

The UMass Donahue Institute’s Economic and Public Policy Research team, a part of the larger SEIGMA team, strives to understand the impacts of the introduction of casinos on the people and economy of the Commonwealth. One point of interest in our work on the study is understanding the jobs at the casinos in Massachusetts, and the characteristics of employees when they are first hired to work there. We designed a survey to obtain this information and gather a range of data on work-related characteristics and aspirations of new employees.