Raschkowan Webinar: Gambling in Massachusetts – From Table Games to Sportsbooks

Washington, D.C. -- February 2, 2023 

Dr. Rachel Volberg, Research Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst - Faculty of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences gave the 2023 Raschkowan Webinar for the NCPG. 

With the passage of the Expanded Gaming Act in 2011, Massachusetts authorized the development of a casino industry in the state. During the subsequent eight years, three resort casinos were built in the cities of Plainville, Springfield, and Everett. These casinos brought immediate economic benefit to the Commonwealth in the form of local job creation, tourism revenue, tax revenue, and local aid. In addition, the social impacts of introducing casinos with electronic gaming machines and table games into the state have been documented by the SEIGMA team over the last decade with some surprising, and some not so surprising, results. The recent legalization of sports betting will bring a new gambling format to the Massachusetts gambling landscape. The economic and social impacts of such a venture can only be speculated upon at this early stage; however, previous work done by the research team can provide an idea of the potential impacts the introduction of sports betting may bring to the Commonwealth over time. See the presentation slides here

Sports betting in Mass. ushers in new era of gambling, along with new social risks

Boston, MA -- January 29, 2023

A new era in gambling gets underway in Massachusetts this week. As of Tuesday January 31 at 10 a.m., sports betting in casinos will be legal in the state. Legal mobile sports gambling is set to start in the state in the following weeks. Rachel Volberg is a research professor at the UMASS Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and she is the Principal Investigator on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study.

Volberg spoke with Sharon Bordy of WBUR’s Weekend EditionListen to (or read) their discussion here

Lower-risk gambling limits: linked analyses across eight countries (open access)

November 30, 2022

A recent study by a team of international researchers, including Dr. Rachel Volberg, elaborated lower-risk gambling guidelines to inform and advise people on what behaviors are linked to increased gambling harms. The team used consistent methodology and population based studies from various countries to establish these guidelines, with suggestions for monthly spending limits and frequency of participation. You can freely access and read the full report published in International Gambling Studies here

Encore Boston Harbor missed target for hiring women; Gets high marks for hiring local, people of color

Boston, MA -- November 11, 2022

MassLive reported on the Encore Boston Harbor New Emplpyee Survey report delivered by the SEIGMA team at the Donahue Insitute at UMass Amherst to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission during an Open Meeting on November 10, 2022. "Regulators with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission expressed some concern Thursday morning with gender balance at the casino but praised Encore Boston Harbor for creating new jobs that largely offered better pay to a local workforce." Read the full MassLive news story here

Drs Volberg and Williams collaborate with Dr Wardle at the University of Glasgow on measuring gambling harms

Glasgow, Scotland -- October 19, 2022

Gambling Research Glasgow - This review on developing survey questions capturing gambling-related harms to self and others is part of GRG’s ongoing work with NatCen Social Research for the Gambling Commission to update and improve how data on gambling behaviour in Britain is collected.The review was produced by Dr Heather Wardle and Dr Viktorija Kesaite at GRG in collaboration with international colleagues Prof Robert Williams and Dr Rachel Volberg.

Read the full report here

Sports Betting Is Legalized In Massachusetts, But The Benefits Are Uncertain

Springfield, MA -- September 29, 2022

Rachel Volberg talks to BusinessWest about the introduction of sports betting in Massachusetts and her legacy of gambing research in the state. 

“We are in a unique position in Massachusetts to be able to monitor the impacts of sports betting as it becomes legal and make adjustments to its provision so as to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms.”

Read the full article here.

Sports betting grew without it being legal in Massachusetts; bettors primarily young, educated males

Springfield, MA -- September 8, 2022

Rachel Volberg presented the most recent SEIGMA report, Legalized Sports Betting in the United States and Potential Impacts in Massachusetts, at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Open Meeting held on September 8, 2022. 

Dr Volberg was interviewed by MassLive about the introduction of sports betting and who is at the most risk of developing problems with a new form of gambling hitting the market.

"The sports betting consumer is different from the average casino better or lottery player, she said. Sports bettors tend to be men, and younger — under age 45 — and highly educated. “Maximizing benefits and minimizing harm starts with good tools and then those tools have to be implemented,” she said. Volberg’s data also shows that Massachusetts residents are betting on sports illegally, without traveling to states where it is legal. 'For sports betting to be successful you must capture not what’s going out of state now but mainly replace the illegal market,” Volberg said.

Read the full MassLive article here

SEIGMA Team Completes First National Review of the Impacts of Legal Sports Betting

Amherst, MA -- September 12, 2022

Legal sports betting in Massachusetts is projected to have “far less impact economically” than the state’s two other legal types of gambling – casinos and the lottery, according to a study led by Rachel Volberg, principal investigator for the SEIGMA project. In August, Massachusetts became the 36th state to legalize sports betting when Governor Charlie Baker signed the Legislature’s bill into law. The SEIGMA report – presented on September 8 – was ordered by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) as it creates the licensing process and the rules and regulations to roll out sports betting in the Commonwealth. Read the whole news story here. Read the full SEIGMA report here

MA Regulator Helps Accelerate Sports Betting Decision, Shares Draft Study

July 28, 2022

The SEIGMA team is currently working on a report which addressses sports betting in Massachusetts. Prior to an official release, the researchers have shared a draft version with legislators to assist the conference committee as it currently debates a sports betting bill. If the bill does not reach Governor Baker's desk by the July 31st deadline, it will need to be pushed to the next legislative session.

Read the full story by GamblingNews here.

Rachel Volberg Presents Keynote Address at 2022 NCPG Conference

Boston, MA -- July 22, 2022

Dr Volberg gave a keynote address at the 2022 National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) National Conference titled Reflections on Risk in recognition of the Lifetime Research Award she received virtually at the 2021 NCPG National Conference.

From the 2022 NCPG National Conference Main Conference Program:

Dr. Volberg will reflect on the intersections between the risks of gambling and risks that she has taken over a 37-year career studying gambling and gambling harms. She will reflect on her role in helping to establish the academic field of gambling research, working through research and service to heighten awareness of the impacts of gambling and mentoring colleagues. She will touch on the influences of her parents growing up in the Bronx in the 1930s and her childhood experiences living in Africa and Europe, as well as the concept of Tikkun Olam, the Judaic precept to “repair the world.”

The presentation slides can be found here. Or watch Dr Volberg's keynote address here