The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Volberg speaks with WAMC Northeast Public Radio on the Social and Economic Impacts of MA's First Casino

Following Chairman Steve Crosby's presentation at a public meeting held in Plainville, MA on the research findings from SEIGMA's Economic & Social Impacts of the Plainridge Park Casino on Plainville and Surrounding Communities on July 26, 2018, Dr. Rachel Volberg–the principal investigator of the SEIGMA study–spoke with WAMC Northeast Public Radio about the many facets of SEIGMA's research, including findings on the social and economic impacts of Plainridge Park Casino to upcoming research centering on the impact of MGM Springfield on the Springfield community.

Listen to Volberg's interview here

For the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's presentation on the Social and Economic Impacts of Plainridge Park Casino, click here

Volberg weighs in on Sports Betting in the Boston Globe

Volberg speaks to the Boston Globe on the legalization and expansion of sports betting:  

"Sports betting is 'not the end of the world,' says Rachel Volberg, a UMass research associate professor and former president of the National Council on Problem Gambling. 'But it has to be well-regulated and carefully managed,' and include dedicated funds for research, prevention, and treatment of gambling addiction, she says."

For the full news article, click here.

SEIGMA Blog: 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.

Read more here

State House News covers SEIGMA Lottery Report: Plainridge sales offset Lottery declines

State House News covers SEIGMA's Lottery Report— "The study, part of a multi-year look at industry impacts, was presented Thursday during a commission meeting by Mark Nichols, a professor at the University of Nevada Reno, and Rachel Volberg, the lead researcher behind the comprehensive study known as the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA).

“Compared to the year before the casino opened, increased lottery sales in Plainville have offset decreased sales in the surrounding communities leaving lottery sales overall essentially unchanged in the area,” Nichols said in a statement. However, sales in the area have not matched the gains experienced in the rest of the state, the study said." 

Click here for the full article

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

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.

Read more here

SEIGMA Blog: 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.

Read more here

The Boston Business Journal covers SEIGMA—"first-of-its-kind study aims to help shape Mass. gambling industry from ground up"

The Boston Business Journal covers UMass Amherst's SEIGMA team and research study—"While the initial research has identified important trends and issues in social and economic impacts associated with expanding gaming in the state, the research team expects to see more significant impacts over time as the larger resort-style casinos come online. The current research is structured to provide researchers and public policy makers a better understanding of the gambling industry in Massachusetts than in other jurisdictions that have introduced casino gambling."

Read the full article here

SEIGMA research receives the attention of Gambling Research Exchange Ontario

Gambling Research Exchange Ontario (GREO)an independent knowledge translation and exchange organization that aims to eliminate the harm of gambling and to support evidenced based decision makingchooses the SEIGMA research article, "Comorbid pathological gambling, mental health, and substance use disorders: Health-care services provision by clinician specialty," published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, to feature in their "Research Snapshot: Summarize and Mobilize."

To read the "Snapshot," click here.

To read the full article, click here.

NEPR's Coverage on Volberg's Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) Study

NEPR, in UMass Amherst Researchers Taking the Long View With Gambling Research, covers Volberg's MAGIC study, the first major cohort study on gambling conducted in the US.

Volberg: "To my knowledge, this is the 1st time anywhere in the world that a government agency has committed to this type of baseline study prior to the opening of a casino. It is a groundbreaking opportunity for researchers."

Read more here 

SEIGMA Blog: 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. 

Read more here