The presence of a casino in Springfield, Mass. has not led to an increase in problem gambling, according to a study released by the University of Massachusetts.
MGM Springfield was the first full-scale Las Vegas-style casino in the Bay State, opening in August 2018. Researchers from UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health & Health Sciences compiled data from November 2019 and compared it to the numbers already known.
The study showed that gambling participation increased slightly from 70.9 percent to 73.8 percent, while the state lottery revenue dropped by less than a percent. There were also no changes in the likelihood of gambling participation when researchers sorted the data by gender, race, or anyone over the age of 50.
“It appears to be an already exposed population as far as casino gambling is concerned,” said Rachel Volberg, the principal investigator of the study. “The Massachusetts population is far from naïve when it comes to casino gambling. State surrounding Massachusetts, including Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York, have had casino gambling for decades prior to the introduction of casino gambling in Massachusetts.”
Of the customers on the casino floor, 59 percent came from within the state’s borders, with an overwhelming majority coming from the Springfield area. The other 41 percent came from “mostly nearby states” and less than one percent came from international locations.
Those in the lower-income brackets spent more of their income on gambling, but they made up the smallest portion of the overall market. 16 percent of gamblers had an income of less than $30,000, while 32 percent reported incomes between $50,000-$99,999 and 35 percent had at least a six-figure income. 71 percent of Springfield bettors were employed and 18 percent were retired.
Pennsylvania State University just announced it would start a similar study surrounding the Keystone State’s online gambling market.