May 18, 2021 -- Springfield, MA. Massachusetts' ongoing gambling research, carried out by the SEIGMA and MAGIC teams, is highlighted in a recent article from the CT Mirror entitled "Bay State confronts problem gambling in ways CT does not." Read the full article here.
Massachusetts passed casino authorization legislation in 2011 with the first, Plainridge Park Casino, opening in 2015. The casino legislation included a progressive research agenda requiring periodic surveying of the social and economic impacts of gambling in the state. Since 2013, the SEIGMA and MAGIC teams based at UMass Amherst have been tasked with undertaking this crucial research. However, player data collected by the casino operators has yet to be made available to resarchers.
Rachel Volberg, SEIGMA/MAGIC Primary Investigator, sees this an an opportunity for researchers to better understand players' gambling behavior in the hopes of developing advanced tools to help those who may have problems with their gambling.
"As a researcher, frankly, my feeling is that all that data that those operators collect should be turned over to the regulators and made available to researchers to try and figure out what kinds of tools could be developed to help people who are getting into trouble,” Volberg said. “It’s required in the statute in Massachusetts. It hasn’t happened yet.”
No only does Massachusetts have an aggressive reserach agenda, it is also one of the few state regulators which requires a responsible gaming program be present in all the casino properties in the state. In Massachusetts, GameSense helps players understand more about gambling (debunking gambling myths, explaining the odds of the games, etc.) and how to better manage their gambing experience. As Amy Gabrila, a GameSense advisor with the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, explained "The industry is riddled with misinformation ... I"m going to tell you what the truth is. And I hope that makes you more able to make an informed choice."