The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Gambling and Problem Gambling in Massachusetts: In-Depth Analysis of Predictors

Rachel Volberg, Principal Investigator on the SEIGMA project, discusses the results of deeper analyses of data from the Baseline General Population Survey (BGPS), a survey of 9,578 Massachusetts residents that was carried out in 2013/2014.  

Our BGPS provided a description of the characteristics of non-gamblers, recreational gamblers, at-risk gamblers, and problem gamblers prior to the opening of any casinos in the Commonwealth. Today we are publishing a new report which uses data collected from our baseline survey, but focused on identifying factors that are gambling and problem gambling predictors in Massachusetts.

Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts: Results of a Baseline Online Panel Survey

Robert Williams, co-Principal Investigator on the SEIGMA project, is a professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and also a Research Coordinator for the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. He and his colleagues on the SEIGMA Social and Health Impacts Team have just produced a report derived from a Baseline Online Panel Survey (BOPS) of 5,046 Massachusetts residents during 2013-2014.

The purpose of the Baseline Online Panel Survey (BOPS) is to study problem gamblers in the state in more detail than the SEIGMA study’s Baseline General Population Survey (BGPS). The BGPS examined a sufficient number of problem gamblers to reliably establish their prevalence in the population, as well as their demographic and gambling profile. However, the number of participants was too small to arrive at a more detailed understanding of problem gamblers.

SEIGMA team examines lottery sales during first year of casino operations in state

Mark Nichols, PhD, a 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 initial assessment of the first year of Massachusetts casino gambling impacts on the state's lottery sales

Both statewide and nationally, there is concern about the impact of the introduction of casinos on lottery sales.  In Massachusetts, we are in the fortunate and unique position of having detailed sales data from the Massachusetts Lottery that 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, at different driving distances, and statewide).  Following the opening of Plainridge Park Casino in June 2015, the present analysis shows that lottery sales have not decreased statewide or nearer the casino during the first year.  We will continue to monitor lottery sales to determine if the first year 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.

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.