The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Safe Bet: Is Mass. fulfilling its problem-gambling mandate?

November 10, 2023 -- Massachusetts

Gambling legislation in Massachusetts requires a portion of revenues to be used to reduce the damage caused by expanded gambling. In a new series of three reports, NEPM reporter Karen Brown takes a closer look at where that money is going. Part one examines GameSense and the secondary and tertiary prevention done at casinos to try to identify and help people who are experiencing gambling harms. Part two takes a closer look at the state's Department of Public Health and how they are spending money for prevention and treatment. Part three focuses on the state's research agenda on legalized gambling, and features conversations with our team's principal investigator, Dr. Rachel Volberg.

Find the full coverage here.

Dr. Volberg presents at Gaming Conference in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria -- November 1, 2023

Dr. Rachel Volberg gave a presentation at the 2023 National Lottery Regulatory Commission's (NLRC) International Gaming Conference in Lagos, Nigeria. The conference examined the sports betting sector and the legal framework regulating gambling. Here is an overview of what was discussed at the conference, and here is another on discussions about how to curb money laundering and terrorist financing. Dr. Volberg's presentation can be found here.

Visualizing the sports betting explosion

Chart showing which states legalized sports betting and when, as well as tax revenues

September 07, 2023 -- Washington, DC

Axios featured a nice visualization of which states have legalized sports betting and when, as well as how much they have received in taxes. The bottom line is delivered by SEIGMA's principal investigator, Rachel Volberg: "We are in the midst of one of the most explosive expansions of legalized gambling that the United States has seen in many, many years." Find the chart and additional information here.

A short history and possible future of gambling in the U.S.

Vox logo

September 07, 2023 -- Washington, DC

Gambling in the United States has been fast expanding in terms of the modalities permitted (sports gambling, online gambling), the number of places where it's permitted and practiced (>1,000 casinos in >40 states), and the acceptability of the practice among the general public (it wasn't long ago that gambling was associated with the mafia and corrupt practices). In "The NFL season opener is also the kickoff for the biggest gambling season ever", journalist Dylan Scott dives into the history and changes in gambling, the risks involved, and its possible future. The article makes good use of our recent report on legalized sports betting, as well as other research sources.

What is going on with sports betting nationally?

August 10, 2023 -- London, UK

Across the United States, sports betting / gambling has exploded in terms of availability, accessibility and marketing. Regulations vary significantly across states, where a handful of companies dominate the national market. This explosion has brought increases in tax revenues for states, and also increases in problem gambling.

In the Financial Times, Oliver Barnes takes a deep dive (interviewing Rachel Volberg among others) into what is going on with sports betting, nationally: "The dark side of the US sports betting boom"

Rhode Island and Sports Betting

June 12, 2023 -- Providence, RI

Rachel Volberg was interviewed by the Rhode Island Current about sports betting and problem gambling for the news story "R.I. fears missing out on sports betting revenue. Is it prepared to address problem gambling?". SEIGMA research has found that the rate of problem gambling is higher among sports betters than among the general population. “Sports betters tend to be pretty enthusiastic gamblers,” she said. “And they’re often involved in a broad range of gambling."

The state always wins when it comes to gambling, critics say

June 08, 2023 -- Boston, MA

Rachel Volberg spoke to Sue O'Connell on GBH Boston News about expanded gambling in the state and gambling advertising.

“We are in the midst of one of the most explosive expansions of legalized gambling that the United States has seen in many, many years,” said Volberg. “So, you don't often hear about policymakers or anybody else really wanting to eliminate or reduce the number of gambling outlets.”

Watch the YouTube video of the news program or read the story here.

Should the lottery expand its offerings to increase profits?

CommonWealth magazine logo

June 1, 2023 -- Boston, MA

Massachusetts lottery officials are concerned that sports gambling will reduce the amount of money people spend on the lottery and are looking to expand their offerings with more expensive scratch tickets and an online lottery. Spending over $800 per year on lottery products, Massachusetts residents have the highest per capita spending in the country (and possibly the world), which is almost twice that of the next state (New York).

This thoughtful piece looks at the research and both sides of the debate.

Since mobile sports betting recently became legal in Mass., advocates worry it could increase problem gambling

The Boston Globe logo

April 2, 2023 -- Boston, MA

Concerns are being raised as to how the legalization of online sports gambling will impact the rates of problem gambling in Massachusetts. In this Boston Globe report many local and national experts and stakeholders - including SEIGMA's Principal Investigator Rachel Volberg - are interviewed to gauge the impact. Note: The article may be behind a paywall.

Read the Boston Globe story here.

Attorney General Sounds Alarm on Mass. Sports Betting Ads

March 9, 2023 -- Boston, MA

NBC10 Boston and WBUR reported on a memo sent to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission detailing the Attorney General's concerns with the launch of mobile sports betting on March 10th. Representatives of the Attorney General's office gave testimony at the MGC's Open Meeting on March 9, 2023. Several of SEIGMA's reports were referenced in the memo highlighting the significantly higher risk of problem and at-risk gambling among sports bettors. 

Read the NBC10 Boston story here and the WBUR story here