The state of Massachusetts has not suffered any significant social or economic ill-effects as a result of the introduction of casino gambling, according to a new report.
The analysis was produced by a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and forms part of a longer-term study known as the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts, which is being conducted at the request of the state government.
The report focused on the social and economic impact of the Plainridge Park Casino, a slots venue that opened in 2015. According to the analysis, there has been no major increase in the incidence of problem gambling in the Plainville area, and no significant shifts in key indicators relating to health, stress or addictions that can be attributed to the casino. .
Overall crime levels have not increased in the Plainville area since 2015, although there has been an increase in lost property and suspicious activity reports.
The report also found that on a state-wide basis, there had been no increase in traffic or noise associated with casinos, although there was an increase in noise complaints in Plainville, and a significant increase in traffic in the Everett area, associated with the construction work currently being carried out on the site of the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort, which opens in June.
Speaking about the findings, the interim chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Gayle Cameron, said that it showed that casino gambling had not been negative for the state:
“Of equal importance, the research suggests that concerns related to the potential for negative social impacts have not occurred.”
According to the latest figures for October, the Plainridge Park casino, which is owned by Penn National Gaming, generated $13.5 million in state gambling revenue. Since it opened in 2015, the casino is estimated to have produced $271 million for state coffers.
Image sourced from Shutterstock.